The development of lower limb musculoskeletal models with clinical relevance is dependent upon the fidelity of the mathematical description of the lower limb. Part I: Equations of motion

Proc Inst Mech Eng H. 2012 Feb;226(2):120-32. doi: 10.1177/0954411911432104.


Contemporary musculoskeletal modelling research is based upon the assumption that such models will evolve into clinical tools that can be used to guide therapeutic interventions. However, there are a number of questions that must be addressed before this becomes a reality. At its heart, musculoskeletal modelling is a process of formulating and then solving the equations of motion that describe the movement of body segments. Both of these steps are challenging. This article argues that traditional approaches to musculoskeletal modelling have been heavily influenced by the need to simplify this process (and in particular the solution process), and that this has to some degree resulted in approaches that are contrary to the principles of classical mechanics. It is suggested that future work is required to understand how these simplifications affect the outputs of musculoskeletal modelling studies. Equally, to increase their clinical relevance, the models of the future should adhere more closely to the classical mechanics on which they are based.

MeSH terms

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