Contribution of the musculature to rotatory laxity and torsional stiffness at the knee

J Biomech. 1987;20(3):281-300. doi: 10.1016/0021-9290(87)90295-8.


The relationships between the mean rectified EMG from two muscle groups crossing the knee joint and the rotational stiffness and laxity about the longitudinal axis of the lower leg were investigated. The EMG signals from three of the quadricep muscle group and two of the hamstring muscle group were monitored using surface electrodes. Each subject sustained self-induced muscle activity from specific muscle combinations while the foot was twisted internally and externally by the researcher. Joint rotation was measured using an electrogoniometer. Analyses of the data showed increased joint stiffness with increased numbers of active muscles. The stiffness measurements ranged from 0.16 to 2.54 Nm degree-1 depending upon the combination of active muscles. The stiffness measured in different tests were very repeatable with standard deviations ranging from 0.02 to 0.25 Nm degree-1. Increases in joint stiffness of over 400% by activation of these muscles were measured.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Electromyography
  • Humans
  • Knee / physiology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Movement
  • Muscle Contraction
  • Muscles / physiology*
  • Rotation