This paper provides an overview of forward dynamic neuromusculoskeletal modeling. The aim of such models is to estimate or predict muscle forces, joint moments, and/or joint kinematics from neural signals. This is a four-step process. In the first step, muscle activation dynamics govern the transformation from the neural signal to a measure of muscle activation-a time varying parameter between 0 and 1. In the second step, muscle contraction dynamics characterize how muscle activations are transformed into muscle forces. The third step requires a model of the musculoskeletal geometry to transform muscle forces to joint moments. Finally, the equations of motion allow joint moments to be transformed into joint movements. Each step involves complex nonlinear relationships. The focus of this paper is on the details involved in the first two steps, since these are the most challenging to the biomechanician. The global process is then explained through applications to the study of predicting isometric elbow moments and dynamic knee kinetics.
Hill model; EMG; tendon; musculotendon complex; pennation angleThe eight-syllable term neuromusculoskeletal in the title of this article simply means that we will be modeling the movements produced by the muscular and skeletal systems as controlled by the nervous system. Neuromusculoskeletal modeling is important for studying functional electrical stimulation of paralyzed muscles, for designing prototypes of myoelectrically controlled limbs, and for general study of how the nervous system controls limb movements in both unimpaired people and those with pathologies such as spasticity induced by stroke or cerebral palsy.There are two fundamentally different approaches to studying the biomechanics of human movement: forward dynamics and inverse dynamics. Either approach can be used to determine joint kinetics (e.g., estimate joint moments during movements) and it is important that the differences between them are understood.NIH Public Access
Impairment of the human neuromusculoskeletal system can lead to significant mobility limitations and decreased quality of life. Computational models that accurately represent the musculoskeletal systems of individual patients could be used to explore different treatment options and ultimately to optimize clinical outcome. The most significant barrier to model-based treatment design is validation of model-based estimates of in vivo contact and muscle forces. This paper introduces an annual “Grand Challenge Competition to Predict In Vivo Knee Loads” based on a series of comprehensive publicly available in vivo data sets for evaluating musculoskeletal model predictions of contact and muscle forces in the knee. The data sets come from patients implanted with force-measuring tibial prostheses. Following a historical review of musculoskeletal modeling methods used for estimating knee muscle and contact forces, we describe the first two data sets used for the first two competitions and summarize four subsequent data sets to be used for future competitions. These data sets include tibial contact force, video motion, ground reaction, muscle EMG, muscle strength, static and dynamic imaging, and implant geometry data. Competition participants create musculoskeletal models to predict tibial contact forces without having access to the corresponding in vivo measurements, which are not released until after each year’s competition submissions. These blinded predictions provide an unbiased evaluation of the capabilities and limitations of musculoskeletal modeling methods. The paper concludes with a discussion of how these unique data sets can be used by the musculoskeletal modeling research community to improve the estimation of in vivo muscle and contact forces and ultimately to help make musculoskeletal models clinically useful.
Cutting maneuvers performed without adequate planning may increase the risk of noncontact knee ligament injury due to the increased external varus/valgus and internal/external rotation moments applied to the knee. These results are probably due to the small amount of time to make appropriate postural adjustments before performance of the task, such as the position of the foot on the ground relative to the body center of mass. Subsequently, training for the game situation should involve drills that familiarize players with making unanticipated changes of direction. Practice sessions should also incorporate plyometrics and should focus on better interpretation of visual cues to increase the time available to preplan a movement.
Compared with running, the potential for increased ligament loading during sidestepping and crossover cutting maneuvers is a result of the large increase in varus/valgus and internal/external rotation moments rather than any change in the external flexion moment. The combined external moments applied to the knee joint during stance phase of the cutting tasks are believed to place the ACL and collateral ligaments at risk of injury, particularly at knee flexion angles between 0 degrees and 40 degrees, if appropriate muscle activation strategies are not used to counter these moments.
This work examined if currently available electromyography (EMG) driven models, that are calibrated to satisfy joint moments about one single degree of freedom (DOF), could provide the same musculotendon unit (MTU) force solution, when driven by the same input data, but calibrated about a different DOF. We then developed a novel and comprehensive EMG-driven model of the human lower extremity that used EMG signals from 16 muscle groups to drive 34 MTUs and satisfy the resulting joint moments simultaneously produced about four DOFs during different motor tasks. This also led to the development of a calibration procedure that allowed identifying a set of subject-specific parameters that ensured physiological behavior for the 34 MTUs. Results showed that currently available single-DOF models did not provide the same unique MTU force solution for the same input data. On the other hand, the MTU force solution predicted by our proposed multi-DOF model satisfied joint moments about multiple DOFs without loss of accuracy compared to single-DOF models corresponding to each of the four DOFs. The predicted MTU force solution was (1) a function of experimentally measured EMGs, (2) the result of physiological MTU excitation, (3) reflected different MTU contraction strategies associated to different motor tasks, (4) coordinated a greater number of MTUs with respect to currently available single-DOF models, and (5) was not specific to an individual DOF dynamics. Therefore, our proposed methodology has the potential of producing a more dynamically consistent and generalizable MTU force solution than was possible using single-DOF EMG-driven models. This will help better address the important scientific questions previously approached using single-DOF EMG-driven modeling. Furthermore, it might have applications in the development of human-machine interfaces for assistive devices.
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