The etiology of degenerative disease of the TMJ may involve fatigue produced by surface tractional forces and compressive stresses. This study tested the time-dependent effects of compressive loading and stress-field translation on TMJ disc-surface tractional forces and stresses. In laboratory experiments with 50 porcine discs, an acrylic indenter imposed 10 N static loads for 10 and 60 sec, followed by translation of the loaded indenter along the mediolateral axis of the disc. Maximum tractional forces were found to occur following 60 sec of static loading (p < 0.001), and increased with translation velocity (R2 = 0.73); whereas maximum compressive stresses occurred after 10 sec of static loading (p < 0.001). Overall, the results were consistent with current mechanical theories of the time-dependent effects of compressive loading of cartilage.
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