Accuracy of generic musculoskeletal models in predicting the functional roles of muscles in human gait.J Biomech. 2011 Jul 28; 44(11):2096-105.JB
Biomechanical assessments of muscle function are often performed using a generic musculoskeletal model created from anatomical measurements obtained from cadavers. Understanding the validity of using generic models to study movement biomechanics is critical, especially when such models are applied to analyze the walking patterns of persons with impaired mobility. The aim of this study was to evaluate the accuracy of scaled-generic models in determining the moment arms and functional roles of the lower-limb muscles during gait. The functional role of a muscle was described by its potential to contribute to the acceleration of a joint or the acceleration of the whole-body center of mass. A muscle's potential acceleration was defined as the acceleration induced by a unit of muscle force. Dynamic simulations of walking were generated for four children with cerebral palsy and five age-matched controls. Each subject was represented by a scaled-generic model and a model developed from magnetic resonance (MR) imaging. Calculations obtained from the scaled-generic model of each subject were evaluated against those derived from the corresponding MR-based model. Substantial differences were found in the muscle moment arms computed using the two models. These differences propagated to calculations of muscle potential accelerations, but predictions of muscle function (i.e., the direction in which a muscle accelerated a joint or the center of mass and the magnitude of the muscle's potential acceleration relative to that of other muscles) were consistent between the two modeling techniques. Our findings suggest that scaled-generic models and image-based models yield similar assessments of muscle function in both normal and pathological gait.