Dem Dry Bones Can Be Painful

As kids, I am sure many of us were encouraged to sing the old spiritual tune “Dem Dry Bones.” The song was not only supposed to be fun, it’s educational. Remember…
The toe bone’s connected to the heel bone,
The heel bone’s connected to the foot bone,
The foot bone’s connected to the leg bone…

Bioengineering researchers must have taken the song to heart, because they want to know how all 206 adult human bones are connected, how they help us move; how they protect our organs, how they break, and thankfully, how they can be healed. The research studies being conducted, with the help of Abaqus FEA, are complex and extensive. They are also vitally important in helping to discover innovative treatments for ailing bones.

Courtesy Harvard University
Harvard University

Researchers at the Harvard Medical School joined with engineers from Foster-Miller, Inc, to study the load bearing capacity of the spine subjected to vertebrae fractures caused by metastasis. Their study combines MRI results with Abaqus FEA to evaluate the fracture and failure processes caused by tumors in the spine. The goal is to leverage their research  to guide clinical decisions related to surgery and patient care.  You can also view a poster on their study at the SIMULIA academic web page. 

Courtesy Hong Kong Polytechnic Universit
Hong Kong Polytechnic Universit

According to the Podiatry Channel website  The foot and ankle contain 26 bones, 33 joints; more than 100 muscles, tendons. I can see why bioengineers are intrigued by the challenge of understanding out how this complex system functions.  The paper from the Hong Kong Polytechnic University describes the highly detailed Abaqus FEA models that they created to gain a better understanding of how to protect our feet and ankles from injury.


Courtesy Cedarville University
Cedarville University

A group of undergraduate engineering students at Cedarville University used Abaqus to model the push-out load between a hip prosthesis stem and bone during a senior design project. Their paper outlines how the analysis results, when used along with a device that maps out the geometry of the femoral intramedullary canal, could aid orthopedic surgeons in  prosthesis size selection during hip replacement surgery. 



Courtesy Cleveland Clinic
Cleveland Clinic

Researchers at the Cleveland Clinic are also using Abaqus to analyze feet. They are assessing the risk of foot ulcerations in patients with diabetic neuropathy. In their study, they analyzed how bone position effects plantar pressure distribution which be used to guide the design of therapeutic footwear. 

I continue to be amazed at how researchers and medical companies are using Abaqus to analyze every part of the human body and discover innovative treatments to improve our health care. 

Feel free to share your thoughts on Life Sciences with me. I plan to tackle other industry topics in coming posts.



  • Hi Tim, I love the emotions stirred up by the Dem Bones reference. I thought you’d enjoy the rendition by The Chipmunks.

    And more seriously, there’s an interesting study going on that springboards from the Hong Kong study you referenced, integrating data from Philippe Fuch’s 10,000 km run from Paris to Beijing. Richard, one of our 3D Perspectives bloggers, is in contact with Neils and the lab running the study.

    Here’s a link to more info about the study:

    Do you have any updates Richard?


  • Tim

    Hi Kate, it certainly is a fun and educational song! Incredible how many artists have recorded it. Will be interesing to find out how things are progressing with the study you mention.

    Meanwhile for those who might want to do some searching on Google for more on bone simulation, they can try this link:

  • Gregory

    Hi everyone, another example here of what SIMULIA can do in Life Sciences :


  • Tim

    Thanks for the link Gregory. Indeed the life sciences applications that SIMULIA is covering is vast. I did not touch on Stents in my posts and this in a significant application that are brand supports. Customer References in Stents and other applciation areas can be found here as well:

  • Interesting! I find the overlap in the mechanical design and the new medical visualization and simulation totally fascinating.

  • Tim

    I agree, it is amazing what is being done with the combination of CAD/MRI/FEA/CFD, etc : ) in the Life Sciences industry.

    I visited your jeffCAD site, which has lots of information there. If you want to include any content on this subject matter let me know, I would be happy to work with you on providing a case study or tutorial. Tim

  • Hello There. I discovered your blog the use of msn. This is an extremely well written article.
    I will be sure to bookmark it and come back to read more of your useful info.
    Thank you for the post. I will definitely return.