Computational biomechanics

The aim of the Computational Biomechanics Unit is the study of the musculoskeletal biomechanics through the application of numerical modelling methods at different dimensional scales (from the whole organism down to the miscrostructure). We work in close collaboration with clinicians for the development of personalised and predictive models derived from diagnostic data, and in collaboration with the other units of the Lab for the development of specifically designed experiments to validate the numerical models.
The main clinical applications of our models are:

  1. prediction of risk of fracture in osteoporotic subjects (specifically at the proximal femur and in the vertebral region) or, more generally, in patients suffering from pathologies affecting the bone mechanical strength;
  2. analysis of the functional outcome and of the risk of biomechanical failure for bone-prosthesis systems (with particular reference to total hip replacement);
  3. analysis of the biomechanical competence of large skeletal reconstructions in tumour surgery.

The main research topic of the Unit is the development of multiscale numerical models for the study of musculoskeletal biomechanics

We developed consolidated modelling procedures, validated whenever possible, and published on peer-reviewed international journals. Using these modelling methods, we are able to address clinical studies involving the clinical problems highlighted above. Currently, we still devote particular attention to the improvement and further development of the following numerical methods:

  1. Personalised FE modelling of bone segments from diagnostic data (eg. Computed Tomography, MRI) (Minimisation of the information needed to build the models; Statistical modelling methods; Improving the automation of the modelling procedures; Modelling of the constitutive equation of the bone tissue) and relative in-vitro validation through comparison with experimental data.
  2. Multibody-dynamics modelling of the musculoskeletal system, for the prediction of the muscular forces acting on the skeleton during various motor tasks (Development and Optimisation of the joint kinematics models; sensitivity analyses of model predictions through probabilistic methods).
  3. Biomechanical characterisation of the bone tissue with microFE models of bone samples based on microCT data;
  4. Development of the Cell Method (numerical method alternative to the FE method, based on a discrete formulation of the physical laws).
  5. Development of software for the fusion, visualisation and processing of biomedical data and signals:
  • Bonemat© to map inhomogeneous material properties of FE models of bones from CT data;
  • NMSBuilder for the generation of personalised musculoskeletal models from diagnostic data and subsequent integration with the OpenSim software.
    We collaborate with numerous Italian and international partners (European, American and Australian), both research and clinical centres. We participated, either as partners or coordinators, to numerous European, national and regional projects.

Selected recent publications (a complete list is available at the Publications page:

  • Valente G, Pitto L, Testi D, Seth A, Delp SL, Stagni R, Viceconti M, Taddei F. Are subject-specific musculoskeletal models robust to the uncertainties in parameter identification? PLoS One. 2014 Nov 12;9(11):e112625.
  • Taddei F, Palmadori I, Taylor WR, Heller MO, Bordini B, Toni A, Schileo E. European Society of Biomechanics S.M. Perren Award 2014: Safety factor of the proximal femur during gait: A population-based finite element study. J Biomech. 2014 Nov 7;47(14):3433-40.
  • Schileo E, Balistreri L, Grassi L, Cristofolini L, Taddei F. To what extent can linear finite element models of human femora predict failure under stance and fall loading configurations? J Biomech. 2014 Nov 7;47(14):3531-8.
  • Grassi L, Schileo E, Boichon C, Viceconti M, Taddei F. Comprehensive evaluation of PCA-based finite element modelling of the human femur. Med Eng Phys. 2014 Oct;36(10):1246-52.
  • Falcinelli C, Schileo E, Balistreri L, Baruffaldi F, Bordini B, Viceconti M, Albisinni U, Ceccarelli F, Milandri L, Toni A, Taddei F. Multiple loading conditions analysis can improve the association between finite element bone strength estimates and proximal femur fractures: a preliminary study in elderly women. Bone. 2014 Oct;67:71-80.
  • Hazrati Marangalou J, Ito K, Taddei F, van Rietbergen B. Inter-individual variability of bone density and morphology distribution in the proximal femur and T12 vertebra. Bone. 2014 Mar;60:213-20.
  • Valente G, Taddei F, Jonkers I. Influence of weak hip abductor muscles on joint contact forces during normal walking: probabilistic modeling analysis. J Biomech. 2013 Sep 3;46(13):2186-93.
  • Taddei F, Martelli S, Valente G, Leardini A, Benedetti MG, Manfrini M, Viceconti M. Femoral loads during gait in a patient with massive skeletal reconstruction. Clin Biomech (Bristol, Avon). 2012 Mar;27(3):273-80.
  • Martelli S, Taddei F, Schileo E, Cristofolini L, Rushton N, Viceconti M. Biomechanical robustness of a new proximal epiphyseal hip replacement to patient variability and surgical uncertainties: a FE study. Med Eng Phys. 2012 Mar;34(2):161-71.
  • Martelli S, Taddei F, Cappello A, van Sint Jan S, Leardini A, Viceconti M. Effect of sub-optimal neuromotor control on the hip joint load during level walking. J Biomech. 2011 Jun 3;44(9):1716-21.
Content updated 18/01/2017 - 18:42
Content edited by: Dott. Andrea Paltrinieri (
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