Upper extremity injury biomechanics

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Accidental Injury: Biomechanics and Prevention




© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015. The scapula, clavicle, humerus, radius and ulna, and bones in the hand are joined by distinct soft tissues and joints in the human. As is true in the other components of the body, these structures are complex and have unique biomechanical characteristics. The purpose of this chapter is to present some of the basic anatomy of this region with a focus on the shoulder and its complex and the forearm. Most of the injuries to this region are high energy injuries. Experimental studies using post mortem human subject (PMHS) delineating the tolerance are described. A considerable majority of tolerance literature due to impact loading is from the automotive area, similar to the other regions. Studies using component models such as isolated forearm and intact PMHS models are described from injuries and injury biomechanics perspectives. Biomechanical testing using component models provide specific loading response information of individual bone and joint, while whole-body PMHS studies facilitate development of injury criteria and understanding of the dynamic interaction between linked components. The chapter concludes with a brief discussion on field injuries and the role of the shoulder in affecting the kinematics, loading and injuries to the thorax, abdomen and pelvis are discussed, with a focus on side impacts. Where possible, injury tolerance information is provided in the form of probability curves.

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