BACKGROUND: Finite element (FE) analysis is widely used in different fields of orthopaedic surgery, however, its application to the trapeziometacarpal joint has been limited due to the small size, complex biconcave-convex joint geometry, and complex musculature. The goal of this study was to improve upon existing models by creating a muscle-driven FE thumb model and use the model to simulate the biomechanical effect of hand therapy exercises and ligament reconstructive surgeries.METHODS: Bone and cartilage geometry were based on a CT dataset of a subject performing a static lateral pinch task. A previously validated musculoskeletal model was utilized to extract electromyography (EMG)-driven muscle forces. Five ligaments with biomechanical significance were modeled as springs using literature values and attached according to their anatomical landmarks.FINDINGS: The biomechanical consequence of various interventions was proxied as a change in the maximum cartilage stress. The result shows tightening the dorsal ligament complex (dorsal radial ligament, dorsal central ligament, posterior oblique ligament) is the most effective, achieving a stress reduction of 4.8%. Five exercises used in hand therapies were modeled, among which thenar eminence strengthening showed the most prominent stress reduction of 4.0%. Four ligament reconstructive surgeries were modeled, with Eaton-Littler reconstruction showed the most significant stress reduction of 25.0%.INTERPRETATION: Among the routinely utilized treatment options for early thumb osteoarthritis, we found that three methods: dorsal ligament imbrication, thenar eminence exercise, and the Eaton-Littler method may confer biomechanical advantages cartilage loading. These advantages align with the clinically observed favorable outcomes.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.clinbiomech.2022.105852
View details for PubMedID 36521409