Finite element analysis of the valgus knee joint of an obese child

Jun Sun, Songhua Yan, Yan Jiang, Duo Wai chi Wong, Ming Zhang, Jizhou Zeng, Kuan Zhang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Knee valgus and varus morbidity is at the second top place in children lower limb deformity diseases. It may cause abnormal stress distribution. The magnitude and location of contact forces on tibia plateau during gait cycle have been indicated as markers for risk of osteoarthritis. So far, few studies reported the contact stress and force distribution on tibial plateau of valgus knee of children. Methods: To estimate the contact stresses and forces on tibial plateau of an 8-year old obese boy with valgus knee and a 7-year old healthy boy, three-dimensional (3D) finite element (FE) models of their left knee joints were developed. The valgus knee model has 36,897 nodes and 1,65,106 elements, and the normal knee model has 78,278 nodes and 1,18,756 elements. Paired t test was used for the comparison between the results from the 3D FE analysis method and the results from traditional kinematic measurement methods. Results: The p value of paired t test is 0.12. Maximum stresses shifted to lateral plateau in knee valgus children while maximum stresses were on medial plateau in normal knee child at the first peak of vertical GRF of stance phase. The locations of contact centers on medial plateau changed 3.38mm more than that on lateral plateau, while the locations of contact centers on medial plateau changed 1.22mm less than that on lateral plateau for healthy child from the first peak to second peak of vertical GRF of stance phase. Conclusions: The paired t test result shows that there is no significant difference between the two methods. The results of FE analysis method suggest that knee valgus malalignment could be the reason for abnormal knee load that may cause knee problems in obese children with valgus knee in the long-term. This study may help to understand biomechanical mechanism of valgus knees of obese children.
Original languageEnglish
Article number158
JournalBioMedical Engineering Online
Publication statusPublished - 28 Dec 2016


  • Contact force
  • Finite element
  • Kinematics
  • Knee valgus
  • Obese child

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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