The Effect of Loading Rate on the Degree of Acute Injury and Chronic Conditions in the Knee After Blunt Impact
Lower extremity injuries due to automobile accidents are often overlooked, but can have a profound societal cost. Knee injuries, for example, account for approximately 10% of the total injuries. Fracture of the knee is not only an acute issue but may also have chronic, or long term, consequences. The criterion currently used for evaluation of knee injuries in new automobiles, however, is based on experimental impact data from the 70''s using seated human cadavers. These studies involved various padded and rigid impact interfaces that slightly alter the duration of contact. Based on these data and a simple mathematical model of the femur, it appears fracture tolerance increases as contact duration shortens. In contrast, more recent studies have shown mitigation of gross fractures of the knee itself using padded interfaces. The use of padded interfaces, however, result in coincidental changes in contact duration and knee contact area.