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May 6, 1983

A Primer of Orthopaedic Biomechanics

Author Affiliations

Rancho Los Amigos Hospital University of Southern California Downey, Calif


by George Van B. Cochran, 413 pp, with illustrations by Caroline Winston Cochran, $38, New York, Churchill Livingstone, 1982.

JAMA. 1983;249(17):2397. doi:10.1001/jama.1983.03330410075037

This article is only available in the PDF format. Download the PDF to view the article, as well as its associated figures and tables.


This is a well-written, superbly illustrated 413-page text. It evolved from a lecture syllabus for orthopedic surgeons by the author and is illustrated by his wife. There are line drawings on most pages, and some contain as many as six.

The first segment contains 70 pages of basic physics and definitions that should be familiar to all physicians but perhaps require a review. The second and third segments are 150 pages, applying these basic concepts to the materials and biologic systems orthopedic surgeons work with. These segments are the finest portions of the text, with lucid explanations for specific problems of hardware fixation, metal failure, cartilage wear, and lubrication. A fourth 80-page segment on biomechanics is best in its discussion of joint motions and forces. The gait section is difficult reading, but a simple gait text has yet to be written. A final 60-page segment on bioelectricity seems unduly long