Journal of Biomechanics
Current computational methods for simulating locomotion have primarily used muscle-driven multibody dynamics, in which neuromuscular control is optimized. Such simulations generally represent joints and soft tissue as simple kinematic or elastic elements for computational efficiency. These assumptions limit application in studies such as ligament injury or osteoarthritis, where local tissue loading must be predicted. Conversely, tissue can be simulated using the finite element method with assumed or measured boundary conditions, but this does not represent the effects of whole body dynamics and neuromuscular control. Coupling the two domains would overcome these limitations and allow prediction of movement strategies guided by tissue stresses. Here we demonstrate this concept in a gait simulation where a musculoskeletal model is coupled to a finite element representation of the foot. Predictive simulations incorporated peak plantar tissue deformation into the objective of the movement optimization, as well as terms to track normative gait data and minimize fatigue. Two optimizations were performed, first without the strain minimization term and second with the term. Convergence to realistic gait patterns was achieved with the second optimization realizing a 44% reduction in peak tissue strain energy density. The study demonstrated that it is possible to alter computationally predicted neuromuscular control to minimize tissue strain while including desired kinematic and muscular behavior. Future work should include experimental validation before application of the methodology to patient care.
Halloran, J. P.; Ackermann, M.; Erdemir, A.; van, d. B. Concurrent musculoskeletal dynamics and finite element analysis predicts altered gait patterns to reduce foot tissue loading. J. Biomech. 2010, 43, 2810-2815.
NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Journal of Biomechanics. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Journal of Biomechanics, 43, 14, (10-19-2010); 10.1016/j.jbiomech.2010.05.036