A reciprocal connection factor for assessing knee-joint function

Wangdo Kim, Sean S. Kohles

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


In the knee joint, interactions between instantaneous kinetics and kinematics associated with ligamentous and articular tissues are not fully understood. These structures may be represented by the instantaneous screw axis ($) (ISA) and static force vectors ($′). Geometric changes to the joint structure affecting motion have not been fully explained, especially after surgical reconstruction and replacement procedures. The ISA offers a joint-characterisation approach, which is dependent on the combined forces of ligaments, articular contacts and muscles. The standard four-bar linkage model in the sagittal plane demonstrates that the normal contact force and the lines of action of the cruciate ligaments always intersect at the centre of rotation of the joint. A kinematic knee model in which the articular surfaces in the lateral and medial compartments as well as the isometric fascicles in the engaged ligaments may be represented as five constraints in a one-degree-of-freedom parallel spatial mechanism. This study provides a theoretical foundation to elucidate the role of each of these elements in the control of the ISA. A recourse to the principle of virtual work explained through d'Alembert's principle for reducing a dynamics problem to an instantaneous static scenario allows screws to be applied to the biomechanics of human motion. The principle of reciprocity links these approaches together to explain the transmitting load between the tibia and the femur as well as the relative motion within the knee joint. A principal clinical implication of this study is the introduction of the reciprocal connection factor to evaluate knee kinematics and kinetics in one simple term, allowing the quantitative assessment of the outcome of knee-joint treatment and rehabilitation methods.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)911-917
Number of pages7
JournalComputer Methods in Biomechanics and Biomedical Engineering
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • instantaneous screw axis (ISA)
  • knee
  • ligaments
  • reciprocal connection factor
  • reciprocal screw
  • wrench

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Science Applications


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