Stress distribution in the human buttocks
Scott, Allison Cooper
Wilhoit, James C.
Master of Science
One of the foremost problems in rehabilitation today is the prevention of bedsores or decubitus ulcers in spinal cord-injured patients. For those patients who must spend great lengths of time in a wheelchair, the wheelchair cushion is of vital importance in avoiding the high forces on the skin that could cause tissue breakdown. The finite element method was used to analyze a two-dimensional model of the human buttocks. The normal and shear stresses in the flesh were determined for several body types supported by a variety of cushion materials. Results permitted a comparison of external pressure measurements made experimentally with calculated internal stresses. Thus, analysis supplemented clinical observations in evaluating the ability of cushion materials to minimize stresses in the flesh.