An EMG-driven musculoskeletal model to estimate muscle forces and knee joint moments in vivo

J Biomech. 2003 Jun;36(6):765-76. doi: 10.1016/s0021-9290(03)00010-1.


This paper examined if an electromyography (EMG) driven musculoskeletal model of the human knee could be used to predict knee moments, calculated using inverse dynamics, across a varied range of dynamic contractile conditions. Muscle-tendon lengths and moment arms of 13 muscles crossing the knee joint were determined from joint kinematics using a three-dimensional anatomical model of the lower limb. Muscle activation was determined using a second-order discrete non-linear model using rectified and low-pass filtered EMG as input. A modified Hill-type muscle model was used to calculate individual muscle forces using activation and muscle tendon lengths as inputs. The model was calibrated to six individuals by altering a set of physiologically based parameters using mathematical optimisation to match the net flexion/extension (FE) muscle moment with those measured by inverse dynamics. The model was calibrated for each subject using 5 different tasks, including passive and active FE in an isokinetic dynamometer, running, and cutting manoeuvres recorded using three-dimensional motion analysis. Once calibrated, the model was used to predict the FE moments, estimated via inverse dynamics, from over 200 isokinetic dynamometer, running and sidestepping tasks. The inverse dynamics joint moments were predicted with an average R(2) of 0.91 and mean residual error of approximately 12 Nm. A re-calibration of only the EMG-to-activation parameters revealed FE moments prediction across weeks of similar accuracy. Changing the muscle model to one that is more physiologically correct produced better predictions. The modelling method presented represents a good way to estimate in vivo muscle forces during movement tasks.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Computer Simulation
  • Electromyography / methods*
  • Humans
  • Knee Joint / physiology*
  • Male
  • Models, Biological*
  • Movement / physiology
  • Muscle Contraction / physiology*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Stress, Mechanical
  • Torque