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J Biomech. 2007;40(12):2628-35. Epub 2007 Mar 13.

Identification of passive elastic joint moment-angle relationships in the lower extremity.

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Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI, USA.


The purpose of this study was to develop a method for identifying subject-specific passive elastic joint moment-angle relationships in the lower extremity, which could subsequently be used to estimate passive contributions to joint kinetics during gait. Twenty healthy young adults participated in the study. Subjects were positioned side-lying with their dominant limb supported on a table via low-friction carts. A physical therapist slowly manipulated the limb through full sagittal hip, knee, and ankle ranges of motion using two hand-held 3D load cells. Lower extremity kinematics, measured with a passive marker motion capture system, and load cell readings were used to compute joint angles and associated passive joint moments. We formulated a passive joint moment-angle model that included eight exponential functions to account for forces generated via the passive stretch of uni-articular structures and bi-articular muscles. Model parameters were estimated for individual subjects by minimizing the sum of squared errors between model predicted and experimentally measured moments. The model predictions closely replicated measured joint moments with average root-mean-squared errors of 2.5, 1.4, and 0.7 Nm about the hip, knee, and ankle respectively. We show that the models can be coupled with gait kinematics to estimate passive joint moments during walking. Passive hip moments were substantial from terminal stance through initial swing, with energy being stored as the hip extended and subsequently returned during pre- and initial swing. We conclude that the proposed methodology could provide quantitative insights into the potentially important role that passive mechanisms play in both normal and abnormal gait.

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