Sex Specific Sacroiliac Joint Biomechanics During Standing Upright: A Finite Element Study

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Abstract

Study Design.

The comparison of sacroiliac joint (SIJ) angular motions, pelvis ligaments strain, load sharing, and stress distribution across the joint for male and female spine-pelvis-femur models using finite element analysis.

Objective.

To quantify biomechanical parameters at SIJ for all motions for both male and female models.

Summary of Background Data.

SIJ has been recognized as a main source of pain in 13% to 30% of patients with low back pain. It is shown that the SIJ rotation and translation in different planes are not exceeding 2° to 3° and 2 mm, respectively. Due to limitation of in vivo and in vitro studies, it is difficult to quantify certain biomechanical parameters such as load-sharing and stress distribution across the joint. Finite element analysis is a useful tool which can be utilized to understand the biomechanics of the SIJ.

Methods.

The validated finite element models of a male and a female lumbar spine-pelvis-femur were developed from computer tomography (CT) scans. The models were used to simulate spine physiological motions. The range of motion, ligament strains, load sharing, and stress distribution across the left and right SIJs were compared between male and female models.

Results.

Motions data at SIJs demonstrated that female model experienced 86% higher mobility in flexion, 264% in extension, 143% in left bending, and 228% in right bending compared with the male model. The stresses and loads on SIJs were higher on the female model compared with the male model. Female model ligaments underwent larger strains compared with the male model ligaments.

Conclusion.

Female SIJ had higher mobility, stresses, loads, and pelvis ligament strains compared with the male SIJ which led to higher stress across the joint, especially on the sacrum under identical loading conditions. This could be a possible reason for higher incidence of SIJ pain and pelvic stress fracture in females.

Conclusion.

Level of Evidence: N/A.

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