Mechanical Loads on the Human Body - Direction of Loading

Compression Pressing or squeezing force directed axially through a body

Tension Pulling or stretching force directed axially through a body

Shear Force directed parallel or tangentially to a surface (ie. femur in knee flexion)

Bending Asymmetric loading which produces TENSION on one side of a body’s longitudinal axis and COMPRESSION on the other side

Torsion Load producing twisting of a body around its longitudinal axis

Combined Loading Simultaneous action of more than one of the above 5 pure forms of loading. Typically with one end of the structure being twisted remaining fixed. (eg. Golf Downswing – torsion and compression of spine)


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