A model of load sharing between muscles and soft tissues at the human knee during static tasks

J Biomech Eng. 1996 Aug;118(3):367-76. doi: 10.1115/1.2796019.


In this study, we have subjects voluntarily generate various forces in a transverse plane just above their ankles. The contributions of their muscles and soft tissues to the support of the total external knee joint moment were determined by analyzing the experimental data using a biomechanical model of the knee. In this model, muscle forces were estimated using the recorded EMGs. To account for subject variability, various muscle parameters were adjusted using a nonlinear least-squares fit of the model's estimated flexion and extension joint moments to those recorded externally. Using the estimated muscle forces, the contributions from the muscles and other soft tissues to the total joint moment were obtained. The results showed that muscles were primarily used to support flexion and extension loads at the knee, but in so doing, were able to support some part of the varus or valgus loads. However, soft tissue loading was still required. Soft tissues supported up to an average maximum of 83 percent of the external load in pure varus and valgus. Soft tissue loading in pure varus and valgus was less than 100 percent of the external load as the muscles, on average, were able to support 17 percent of the external load. This muscle support was by virtue of muscle cocontraction and/or specific muscle activation.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Connective Tissue / physiology*
  • Electromyography
  • Humans
  • Isometric Contraction / physiology*
  • Knee Joint / physiology*
  • Least-Squares Analysis
  • Male
  • Models, Biological*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology*
  • Range of Motion, Articular / physiology*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sensitivity and Specificity