Involvement of Articular Cartilage in a Linear Relaxation Process during Walking

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Abstract

A KNEE joint consists essentially of a pair of articulating bone surfaces lined with cartilage; the latter is swollen with an aqueous solution of protein and salts and contained within a sac (synovial membrane). The solution to problems of friction and wear in the normal joint has attracted attention to the properties of the bearing material, articular cartilage—a composite macromolecular gel made up chiefly of collagen and various mucopolysaccharides, together with 70–80 per cent fluid. In several in vitro studies, articular cartilage has been separated from bone, cut into simple geometric shapes and subjected to compressive loading. It has been repeatedly observed1–4 that, after the application of load, cartilage expresses a portion of its fluid within between 20 and 60 min, at the end of which the weight of transferred fluid reaches a constant level (Fig. 1). When the load is removed, fluid gradually re-enters the cartilage and swells it; eventually, the fluid content returns to its original level3,4.

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YANNAS, I. Involvement of Articular Cartilage in a Linear Relaxation Process during Walking. Nature 227, 1358–1360 (1970) doi:10.1038/2271358b0

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