Orthopaedic Biomechanics

Module aims

The objectives of this course are to understand the basic mechanics of the musculoskeletal system. The course will cover the structure and function of the musculoskeletal tissues (bone, cartilage, muscle, tendon, ligament), the mechanics of the tissue (or tissue's response to mechanics), diseases and injury of the tissues, and will touch on clinical treatments.

Learning outcomes

Learning Outcomes - Knowledge and Understanding

  • Describe musculoskeletal tissue structure and function
  • Recall terminology to describe bone and joint types, joint motions, and muscle contractions
  • Discuss and apply mechanical properties of musculoskeletal tissues
  • Explain how disease affects mechanical properties

Learning Outcomes - Intellectual Skills

  • Evaluate effects of loading on the musculoskeletal system
  • Compare the outcomes of different kinematic and kinetic scenarios
  • Critically appraise the influence of implants on bone
  • Calculate muscle and joint forces

Learning Outcomes - Practical Skills

  • Able to apply mechanicso musculoskeletal systems

Learning Outcomes - Transferable Skills

  • Organise and prioritise work
  • Understand research approaches

Module syllabus

Skeletal development Muscle structure & function Bone mechanics, strength & structure Bone growth, adaptation, and fracture healing Cartilage structure and function, including osteoarthritis treatments and therapies Tendon and ligament structure, function & mechanics Joint structure, function, mechanics & tribology Implants: knee, hip, shoulder Spine biomechanics 


Mechanics: basic solid mechanics, dynamics, kinematics, Newtonian mechanics, free body diagrams, force calculations, beam analysis, failure theories, factor of safety Students without these prerequisites should speak to the lecturer to determine if their background is suitable. Students on the iBSc course should obtain the requisite knowledge from Fundamentals of Biomedical Engineering.

Teaching methods

Lectures: 18 hours
Tutorials: 10 hours



●  Written exam: Final exam; 76% weighting

    Rubrics: 1.5 hour long exam. Closed book. All questions are compulsory.

     Outline answers to past papers will be available


●  Problem sheet: Problem sheet 1; 8% weighting; Problem sheet

●  Problem sheet: Problem sheet 2; 8% weighting; Problem sheet

●  Problem sheet: Problem sheet 3; 8% weighting; Problem sheet

Module leaders

Dr Angela Kedgley