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J Biomech. 2006;39(12):2253-63. Epub 2005 Sep 12.

A model-based study of passive joint properties on muscle effort during static stance.

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Biomedical Engineering Department, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH 44119, USA.


This study examined the impact of lower extremity joint stiffnesses and simulated joint contractures on the muscle effort required to maintain static standing postures after a spinal cord injury (SCI). Static inverse computer simulations were performed with a three-dimensional 15 degree of freedom musculoskeletal model placed in 1600 different standing postures. The required lower extremity muscle forces were calculated through an optimization routine that minimized the sum of the muscle stresses squared, which was used as an index of the muscle effort required for each standing posture. Joint stiffnesses were increased and decreased by 100 percent of their nominal values, and contractures were simulated to determine their effects on the muscle effort for each posture. Nominal muscle and passive properties for an individual with a SCI determined the baseline muscle effort for comparisons. Stiffness changes for the ankle plantar flexion/dorsiflexion, hip flexion/extension, and hip abduction/adduction directions had the largest effect on reducing muscle effort by more than 5 percent, while changes in ankle inversion/eversion and knee flexion/extension had the least effect. For erect standing, muscle effort was reduced by more than 5 percent when stiffness was decreased at the ankle plantar flexion/dorsiflexion joint or hip flexion/extension joint. With simulated joint contractures, the postural workspace area decreased and muscle effort was not reduced by more than 5 percent for any posture. Using this knowledge, methods can be developed through the use of orthoses, physical therapy, surgery or other means to appropriately augment or diminish these passive moments during standing with a neuroprosthesis.

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