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Clin Biomech (Bristol, Avon). 2013 Feb;28(2):187-92. doi: 10.1016/j.clinbiomech.2012.12.008. Epub 2013 Jan 18.

In vitro biomechanical study of femoral torsion disorders: effect on moment arms of thigh muscles.

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  • 1Laboratory of Anatomy, Biomechanics and Organogenesis, Faculté de Médicine, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Bruxelles, Belgium.



Lower limb torsion disorders have been considered as a factor inducing gonarthrosis and the three-dimensional effect of the surgical correction is not well reported yet. This paper reports an in vitro study aiming at quantifying the relationships between experimental femoral torsion disorders and moment arms of thigh muscles.


Five unembalmed lower limbs were used and fixed on an experimental jig. Muscles were loaded and 6 Linear Variable Differential Transformers were used to measure tendon excursions. Experimental osteotomies were performed to simulate torsions by steps of 6° up to 18°. Moment arms of the main thigh muscles were estimated by the tendon excursion method during knee flexion.


Moment arms of the tensor of fascia latae, the gracilis and the semitendinosus were significantly influenced by experimental conditions while the rectus femoris, the biceps femoris and the semimembranosus did not show modifications. Medial femoral torsion decreased the moment arm of both the gracilis and the semimembranosus. Opposite changes were observed during lateral femoral torsion. The moment arm of the tensor of fascia latae decreased significantly after 30° of knee flexion for 18° of medial femoral torsion.


Our results showed that medial and lateral femoral torsion disorders induced alterations of the moment arms of the muscles located medially to the knee joint when applied in aligned lower limbs. These results highlight a potential clinical relevance of the effect of femoral torsion alterations on moment arms of muscles of the thigh which may be related, with knee kinematics modifications, to the development of long-term knee disease.

Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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