A Method for Numerical Simulation of Single Limb Ground Contact Events: Application to Heel-Toe Running

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Computer Methods in Biomechanics and Biomedical Engineering


The objective of this work was to develop a method to simulate single-limb ground contact events, which may be applied to study musculoskeletal injuries associated with such movements. To achieve this objective, a three-dimensional musculoskeletal model was developed consisting of the equations of motion for the musculoskeletal system, and models for the muscle force generation and ground contact elements. An optimization framework and a weighted least-squares objective function were presented that generated muscle stimulation patterns that optimally reproduced subject-specific movement data. Experimental data were collected from a single subject to provide initial conditions for the simulation and tracking data for the optimization. As an example application, a simulation of the stance phase of running was generated. The results showed that the average difference between the simulation and subject's ground reaction force and joint angle data was less than two inter-trial standard deviations. Further, there was good agreement between the model's muscle excitation patterns and experimentally collected electromyography data. These results give confidence in the model to examine musculoskeletal loading during a variety of landing movements and to study the effects of various factors associated with injury. Limitations were examined and areas of improvement for the model were presented.