Elbow joint biomechanics during ADL focusing on total elbow arthroplasty - a scoping review

Daniëlle Meijering*, Roos Ga Duijn, Alessio Murgia, Alexander L. Boerboom, Denise Eygendaal, Michel Pj van den Bekerom, Sjoerd K. Bulstra, Martin Stevens, Riemer Jk Vegter

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background: Overloading is hypothesized to be one of the failure mechanisms following total elbow arthroplasty (TEA). It is unclear whether the current post-operative loading instruction is compliant with reported failure mechanisms. Aim is therefore to evaluate the elbow joint load during activities of daily living (ADL) and compare these loads with reported failure limits from retrieval and finite element studies. Methods: A scoping review of studies until 23 November 2021 investigating elbow joint load during ADL were identified by searching PubMed/Medline and Web of Science. Studies were eligible when: (1) reporting on the elbow joint load in native elbows or elbows with an elbow arthroplasty in adults; (2) full-text article was available. Results: Twenty-eight studies with a total of 256 participants were included. Methodological quality was low in 3, moderate in 22 and high in 3 studies. Studies were categorized as 1) close to the body and 2) further away from the body. Tasks were then subdivided into: 1) cyclic flexion/extension, 2) push-up, 3) reaching, 4) self-care, 5) work. Mean flexion–extension joint load was 17 Nm, mean varus-valgus joint load 9 Nm, mean pronation-supination joint load 8 Nm and mean bone-on-bone contact force 337 N. Conclusion: The results of our scoping review give a first overview of the current knowledge on elbow joint loads during ADL. Surprisingly, the current literature is not sufficient to formulate a postoperative instruction for elbow joint loading, which is compliant with failure limits of the prosthesis. In addition, our current instruction does not appear to be evidence-based. Our recommendations offer a starting point to assist clinicians in providing informed decisions about post-operative instructions for their patients.

Original languageEnglish
Article number42
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalBMC musculoskeletal disorders
Publication statusPublished - 18 Jan 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors thank K. Sijtsma, medical librarian of the UMCG, for her assistance in performing the literature search.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023, The Author(s).


  • Activities of daily living
  • Arthroplasty
  • Biomechanical analysis
  • Elbow joint loading
  • Elbow prosthesis


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