AiS Challenge Team Abstract

Team Number: 091

School Name: Silver High School

Area of Science: Medical/Orthopedic

Project Title: The Human Knee: Is It Really That Strong?



Problem Definition

The purpose of our project is to determine a person's proneness to tearing their Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) by mathematically modeling and comparing age, sex, height, and weight of ACL-reconstruction patients from our local area. Ligaments are fibrous connective tissue bands, with abundant skewed bundles of collagen, that connect bones. The ACL, which attaches to the back of the femur and the front of the tibia, is located in the center of knee. The ACL is made up of two intertwining ligaments that work together but perform different tasks. This ligament is a vital component of the knee, needed everyday to walk, run, and even jump. It functions to limit rotation and forward motion of the tibia, and can withstand 1700 newtons before complete failure. The ACL is commonly torn by non-contact movements such as a rapid change in direction, deceleration when running, or landing from a jump; however, the ligament can also be torn by direct contact such as a football tackle. The tearing of the ACL is a very serious, painful injury that can only be repaired by reconstructive surgery.

Problem Solution

We plan to find a function to accurately predict a person's proneness to tearing their ACL by collecting statistics from local orthopedic clinics and entering the four factors into a TI calculator, creating a graph of this information. In analyzing this graph, we will determine the mathematical model equation, which will allow us to calculate a person's probability of an ACL injury. We will incorporate this equation in a C++ program which will calculate and output a person's proneness to tearing their ACL after entering their age, sex, height, and weight. This will help us predict the body type that is most prone to this serious, yet repairable, injury.

Progress To Date

We have collected the statistics from a local orthopedic clinic and have started our graphs and equations with this information. We are still awaiting more statistical information from other clinics around the state, and plan to use this to increase the accuracy of our mathematical model equation. We want our equation to be as precise as possible, and can increase this preciseness only by collecting as many statistics as possible.

Expected Results

We expect that females will have a higher risk of tearing their ACL, as supported by our research. This is possibly due to the fact that women have a different running posture that causes their ACL to be more prone to tearing. We also expect that high-school and college aged people involved in high-risk sports, such as basketball, soccer, and football, will be at greater risk than lethargic people of the same age. We also expect that as a person ages, the likelihood that they will tear their ACL will decrease with their activity level. A person with above average weight who is active will also have a higher chance of tearing their ACL. Because mass is a property within force, a heavier person applies more newtons of force to their ACL during activities than a person with average weight in the same situation.

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