The Injury Tolerance of the Tibia Under Off-Axis Impact Loading
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During a frontal collision, there are a range of lower extremity postures that the vehicle's occupant may assume, potentially changing the way load is transmitted to this region of the body. While most experimental studies on the tibia's injury tolerance assume that load is directed along the leg's long axis, the effects of off-axis loading due to non-standard postures have not been well quantified, and commonly-cited injury criteria such as the Tibia Index do not directly account for posture. Therefore, twelve cadaveric tibias (paired from six donors) were subjected to off-axis impact loading in a custom-built test apparatus. One specimen from each pair was held at an angle of 15° relative to the direction of loading, while the contralateral was held at an angle of 30°, with these angles representing ankle plantarflexion and corresponding knee extension in a vehicle occupant. Specimens held at 30° fractured at lower forces than the specimens held at 15° (mean force = 5.8 vs. 7.5 kN). This indicates that posture should be incorporated into injury criteria for the tibia in future safety assessments instead of using a single force value based on axial impacts.
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