Orthopaedic Biomechanics (PG)

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

Knowledge and Understanding

  • Decribe 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

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

Practical Skills

  • Able to apply mechanics to musculoskeletal systems

Transferable Skills

  • Conduct a literature review
  • Present findings of independent review of a topic for an audience of peers
  • 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 & tribiology
  • Implants: knee, hip, shoulder
  • Spine biomechanics


Mechanics (basic solid mechanics, dynamics, kinematics). 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. Solid mechanics: Newtonian mechanics, free body diagrams, force calculations, beam analysis, failure theories, factor of safety

Teaching methods

Lectures: 18 hours
Tutorials: 10 hours


●  Written exam: Final exam; 75% weighting
    Rubrics: 2.5 hour long exam. Closed book. All questions are compulsory.
     Outline answers to past papers will be available

●  Problem sheet: Problem sheet 1; 5% weighting; Problem sheet
●  Problem sheet: Problem sheet 2; 5% weighting; Problem sheet
●  Presentation: Presentation slides and handout due; 15% weighting; Oral presentation with accompanying slides and handout

Feedback : All marked problem sheet questions will be marked and returned within 2 weeks of submission. Full model solutions will be provided for problem sheets. Grades amd feedback for presentations will be released on the final day of term, following the last set of presentations. Peer-reviewer feedback will also form an important part of feedback for aspects of this course.

Reading list