Introduction/purpose: Characterization of hamstring mechanics during sprinting is fundamental to understanding musculotendon injury mechanisms. The objective of this study was to use muscle-actuated forward dynamic simulations to investigate musculotendon mechanics of the biceps femoris long head during the swing phase of sprinting.
Methods: We used a three-dimensional linked segment model with 26 Hill-type musculotendon actuators to simulate swing phase dynamics. Muscle excitations were computed that drove the linked segment model to track measured hip and knee motion of an individual sprinting on a treadmill. The simulations were used to investigate the effect of tendon compliance on the excursions and power development of the muscle and tendinous components of the biceps femoris.
Results: The biceps femoris musculotendon complex underwent a stretch-shortening cycle over the latter half of swing phase, with the shortening portion occurring in the final 10% of the gait cycle. Biceps femoris excitation increased markedly between 70 and 80% of the gait cycle and continued through the end of swing. Following the onset of excitation, stretch of the muscle component slowed considerably while the tendon lengthened and stored elastic energy. Simulating the sprinting movement with a more compliant tendon increased tendon elastic energy storage, thereby reducing peak muscle stretch and negative muscle work.
Conclusions: Muscle-actuated forward dynamic simulation provides a powerful approach for investigating biomechanical factors that may contribute to the occurrence of hamstring musculotendon injuries.