Comparison of different methods for estimating muscle forces in human movement

Proc Inst Mech Eng H. 2012 Feb;226(2):103-12. doi: 10.1177/0954411911429401.


The aim of this study was to compare muscle-force estimates derived for human locomotion using three different methods commonly reported in the literature: static optimisation (SO), computed muscle control (CMC) and neuromusculoskeletal tracking (NMT). In contrast with SO, CMC and NMT calculate muscle forces dynamically by including muscle activation dynamics. Furthermore, NMT utilises a time-dependent performance criterion, wherein a single optimisation problem is solved over the entire time interval of the task. Each of these methods was used in conjunction with musculoskeletal modelling and experimental gait data to determine lower-limb muscle forces for self-selected speeds of walking and running. Correlation analyses were performed for each muscle to quantify differences between the various muscle-force solutions. The patterns of muscle loading predicted by the three methods were similar for both walking and running. The correlation coefficient between any two sets of muscle-force solutions ranged from 0.46 to 0.99 (p < 0.001 for all muscles). These results suggest that the robustness and efficiency of static optimisation make it the most attractive method for estimating muscle forces in human locomotion.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Computer Simulation
  • Female
  • Gait / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Joints / physiology*
  • Leg / physiology*
  • Locomotion / physiology*
  • Models, Biological*
  • Muscle Contraction / physiology*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology*
  • Stress, Mechanical