Mathematical Modeling of Contact Stress and the Range of Motion in the Elbow Joint in Displaced Fracture of Humeral Trochlea

V.B. Makarov, Ye.V. Levadnyi, A.S. Strafun


The authors constructed a necessary geometrical mo­del of the elbow joint that meets sufficient requirements for mathematical modeling. In ABAQUS software, based on created geometric model, there has been simulated 13B2 (AO/ASIF) fracture of the distal humerus with different values of displacement of the articular surface of the humeral trochlea — 2, 3, 4 and 5 mm. On the basis of geometrical model, finite element model has been created and numerical experiment has been carried out. It was found that with increase in the displacement of the fragment of the humerus, the value of contact stress in the articular surfaces in the humeroradial joint increases with simultaneous reduction of the contact area. Contact stress on joint surfaces rise sharply at 4–5 mm displacement of fragments. There has been shown a dependence of the angle of flexion and the value of displacement of fragments on the growth of contact stresses, which shows that the amount of displacement of fragment by 2–3 mm in case of 13B2 fracture (AO/ASIF) did not significantly reduce the elbow angle, despite an increase in contact stresses up to 20–30 % compared with the physiological stresses. This fact may indirectly indicate a possibility of conservative treatment and further active rehabilitation. Thus, displacement of intraarticular fragments by 2–3 mm can be considered as maximal allowable displacement that will not greatly restrict the movements of the elbow joint.


distal humerus fracture; range of motion; contact stress area; stress-strain state; finite-element mesh


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