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Orthopedic biomechanics book for beginners

Orthopedic biomechanics book for beginners

Orthopedic biomechanics book for beginners


Could you guys suggest good books for beginners who want to learn orthopedic biomechanics? I have googled as well as seen reviews about some books but I thought I could know more from people (any beginner who found some book really helpful or someone who knows which book would help beginners to start with) in this forum so posted this question. Thank you so much in advance.

Since I was not sure in which forum this question should have been posted, I am re-posting this question in this forum. Please do not mind for re-posting here.

RE: Orthopedic biomechanics book for beginners

Spine biomechanics.

I am going to join a lab and my project topic is based on analyzing the effects of various implants on spinal biomechanics using finite element analysis. Since both finite element analysis and biomechanics are new to me, I want to know about good books to start with. I am also reviewing some books for learning FE.

RE: Orthopedic biomechanics book for beginners

FE cannot be learnt by reading alone. You have to take two courses on it to understand it.

White and Panjabi, Nikolai Bogduk, Stuart McGill, and William Marras have written good books on spine.

For computational biomechanics of spine, you will have to narrow down your interest because there are a lots of researchers out there.

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RE: Orthopedic biomechanics book for beginners

Thank you IceBreakerSours for the recommendation. For computational biomechanics of spine, there are two different spinal deformities around which analyses will be done. For FE, one colleague from the lab will be training me to use Abaqus and run models, but to grasp better understanding of theory behind FE and learn more, I want to read book from beginning. But I do not know about the courses, I thought going through book along with training from lab would be ok to start at least.

I have few confusions. In the lab that I will be joining, students there do know how to use Abaqus, run different models but they do not know the full theory behind FE (as said by some lab students). What I mean to say is, they can carry out their research as required without knowing in detail about FE. I am not sure if I should go that way if I want to get things done quick like they do or give more time into learning FE in the beginning. I do not think not knowing in detail about FE would be good in long run, if this is what I want to continue as my future research area. Or is it ok if we just have the basic understanding of how FE works and focus more on knowing to make and run models as required for particular analyses because this is the area that is focused on eventually? Please don't mind if this was a stupid question to ask.

RE: Orthopedic biomechanics book for beginners

The most fundamental question for you is: What do you want to be? Do you see yourself as a card carrying computational analyst? Or, do you wish to be a biomed engineering who has a deep appreciation of the clinical issues with skills in image processing and FE? .. .. ..

Then, there are some additional fundamental questions you should have some answers for soon (and those may change as you proceed with your studies):

a) What is/are the question/s that is/are being asked of the FEM (i.e., theoretical) model?
b) Can FEM answer it? FEM is a tool and that is all there is to it. All tools have limitations.
c) What inputs are absolutely required for FEM to have a shot at predicting some phenomenon?
d) What experimental data is absolutely required to judge the value of the prediction?
e) How large is the variability in the inputs and experimental data? How does that variability affect the predictive value of the model? If the variability is as large as the mean (or more), then could it be that FEM is (or the questions asked of FEM) are inappropriate?

You want to constantly ask these questions of yourself (and discuss them with your advisor), iterate, and come up with hypotheses that are fair to the tool you are going to be using.

Making quick progress initially can be very important. Ultimately, if you do not have a good understanding of the tool, you are playing with fire and will likely end up wasting resources. Also, knowing the user interface of a tool isn't the same as knowing FEM. How well you need to FEM depends on what you want to be.

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RE: Orthopedic biomechanics book for beginners

Thank you so much. The things you told really made me clear a lot of confusions I had (the main thing I should know is what I want to do and become in future; being stuck between so many things and people's expectations, I think lot of us overlook this fundamental question). I really appreciate the responses you gave, these are really helpful. Thanks again!

RE: Orthopedic biomechanics book for beginners

Even though it is a bit late (but not too late), I am glad you are asking questions.

What might also help is watching some video lectures.

Gilbert Strang from MIT has multiple courses on YouTube on applied mathematics. 18.085 walks you through the numerical underpinnings of the method with some applications including simple FE spring type models.

William Anderson from University of Michigan has an excellent introductory FEM course (Linear, Static Finite Element Analysis).

Krishna Garikipatti from University of Michigan has a MOOC course on coursera. It is heavy on the analytical mathematical underpinnings of the method so if your math is strong, it would be a great course to take. The videos for the course are also available on YouTube (Introduction to Finite Element Methods).

There are many more video lectures available online but nothing will replace actual coursework, coding, etc.

Some additional helpful sites are:

Tissue mechanics focus:


FEM focus:


Good luck!

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RE: Orthopedic biomechanics book for beginners

I am happy that I asked the question, I could get such valuable advice and helpful links and videos as well, I really thank you. I will go through these videos and links, also will help me search more related videos.

RE: Orthopedic biomechanics book for beginners


RE: Orthopedic biomechanics book for beginners

Good afternoon

Just to continue with the share of information, not only it is escential to go through some courses in order to understand how to run the simulations, but also try looking at some papers or publications online.

For example, i found this paper that analisys the cervical spine under four parameters: different loads, cage geometry, cage material and bone properties. The program they use is ANSYS, but you can get the idea.

Finite Element Analysis of Cage Subsidence in Cervical Interbody Fusion, available at:

Hope it helps and greetings

María Chavez

RE: Orthopedic biomechanics book for beginners

I used to design spine implants. By far the most referenced book that I was exposed to was Clinical Biomechanics of the Spine by White and Panjabi. (IceBreakerSours alluded to it above)


Cited by over 4000 other journals/papers.

Also, I haven't spoken to her in awhile but Dr. Lisa Ferrara (PhD) knows just about everything about the spine and has also done FEA in that field. I don't know if she'll give you free advice tongue but if you get desperate she'd be the first person I would call. Her website: http://www.orthokintech.com/team/

RE: Orthopedic biomechanics book for beginners

While White and Panjabi is a highly cited text, it must not be considered the final word. It is a fairly dated text; a lot more is known about the spine now. Also, Panjabi's claim to fame was the concept of stability (neutral zone hypothesis), which resulted in fusion being 'the answer' with a success rate of close to 50%. And, as far as I recall, dynamic stabilization never delivered on its promise. So, I am not sure what that says about our theoretical understanding (and, consequently, modeling) of the spine. That is not to say the modelers are not good or modeling is poor. In fact, Shirazi-Adl, Kim-Goel-Kiapour, Rohlmann, Zander, Yoganandan, Natarajan, Ferguson, Rulkotter .. are all excellent modelers, many filing lots of patents. Folks out of Stuttgart have been doing some interesting modeling work from a novel perspective as well. However, the lack of clinical success seems like an elephant in the room to me.

Although they cite folks like Alf Nachemson, Georg Bergmann, Michael Adams, I have noticed few spine modelers rarely have read Vladimir Zatriosky or Nikolai Bogduk or Paul Hodges or Jill Urban which says some cross-pollination is missing in this space. This is why I recommend taking a holistic view of the clinical biomechanics of the spine from a variety of perspectives (kinesiology, therapy, rehab, surgery, etc.) and only then use mechanics to address a piece of the big question of interest (after you have managed to identify one!).

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RE: Orthopedic biomechanics book for beginners

Star for you.

I didn't mean to imply it (Panjabi & White) was exhaustive. As a side note, the number of papers I've read that omitted a critical variable in their controls I can't count on my limbs. Since I was mostly in the job of fusion I cared more about geometry or forces than kinematics so P&W was usually adequate for raw numbers (e.g. vertebral depth & width; pedicle diameter). That said, Lisa F. also addressed the non-fusion side e.g. determining center of rotation in flexion/extension. She's one of my favorite people to work with (as well as her husband who handles most of the mechanical testing).

I'll now leave this to you experts tongue

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