Estimation of individual muscle forces during human movement can provide insight into neural control and tissue loading and can thus contribute to improved diagnosis and management of both neurological and orthopaedic conditions. Direct measurement of muscle forces is generally not feasible in a clinical setting, and non-invasive methods based on musculoskeletal modeling should therefore be considered. The current state of the art in clinical movement analysis is that resultant joint torques can be reliably estimated from motion data and external forces (inverse dynamic analysis). Static optimization methods to transform joint torques into estimates of individual muscle forces using musculoskeletal models, have been known for several decades. To date however, none of these methods have been successfully translated into clinical practice. The main obstacles are the lack of studies reporting successful validation of muscle force estimates, and the lack of user-friendly and efficient computer software. Recent advances in forward dynamics methods have opened up new opportunities. Forward dynamic optimization can be performed such that solutions are less dependent on measured kinematics and ground reaction forces, and are consistent with additional knowledge, such as the force–length–velocity–activation relationships of the muscles, and with observed electromyography signals during movement. We conclude that clinical applications of current research should be encouraged, supported by further development of computational tools and research into new algorithms for muscle force estimation and their validation.
Erdemir, A., McLean, S., Herzog, W., 2007, "Model-Based Estimation of Muscle Forces Exerted during Movements," Clinical Biomechanics, 22(2) pp. 131-154.
NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Clinical 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 Clinical Biomechanics, 22, 2, (02-01-2007); 10.1016/j.clinbiomech.2006.09.005