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Evaluation of musculoskeletal models, scaling methods, and performance criteria for estimating muscle excitations and fiber lengths across walking speeds

  • Luis, Israel;
  • Afschrift, Maarten; 88756;
  • De Groote, Friedl; 46458;
  • Gutierrez-Farewik, Elena M;
Publication Date
Oct 06, 2022
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Muscle-driven simulations have been widely adopted to study muscle-tendon behavior; several generic musculoskeletal models have been developed, and their biofidelity improved based on available experimental data and computational feasibility. It is, however, not clear which, if any, of these models accurately estimate muscle-tendon dynamics over a range of walking speeds. In addition, the interaction between model selection, performance criteria to solve muscle redundancy, and approaches for scaling muscle-tendon properties remain unclear. This study aims to compare estimated muscle excitations and muscle fiber lengths, qualitatively and quantitatively, from several model combinations to experimental observations. We tested three generic models proposed by Hamner et al., Rajagopal et al., and Lai-Arnold et al. in combination with performance criteria based on minimization of muscle effort to the power of 2, 3, 5, and 10, and four approaches to scale the muscle-tendon unit properties of maximum isometric force, optimal fiber length, and tendon slack length. We collected motion analysis and electromyography data in eight able-bodied subjects walking at seven speeds and compared agreement between estimated/modelled muscle excitations and observed muscle excitations from electromyography and computed normalized fiber lengths to values reported in the literature. We found that best agreement in on/off timing in vastus lateralis, vastus medialis, tibialis anterior, gastrocnemius lateralis, gastrocnemius medialis, and soleus was estimated with minimum squared muscle effort than to higher exponents, regardless of model and scaling approach. Also, minimum squared or cubed muscle effort with only a subset of muscle-tendon unit scaling approaches produced the best time-series agreement and best estimates of the increment of muscle excitation magnitude across walking speeds. There were discrepancies in estimated fiber lengths and muscle excitations among the models, with the largest discrepancy in the Hamner et al. model. The model proposed by Lai-Arnold et al. best estimated muscle excitation estimates overall, but failed to estimate realistic muscle fiber lengths, which were better estimated with the model proposed by Rajagopal et al. No single model combination estimated the most accurate muscle excitations for all muscles; commonly observed disagreements include onset delay, underestimated co-activation, and failure to estimate muscle excitation increments across walking speeds. / status: published

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