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Sci Rep. 2020 Feb 20;10(1):3026. doi: 10.1038/s41598-020-59602-2.

EMG-Assisted Muscle Force Driven Finite Element Model of the Knee Joint with Fibril-Reinforced Poroelastic Cartilages and Menisci.

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Department of Applied Physics, University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio, Finland.
Department of Applied Physics, University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio, Finland.
NeuroMuscular Research Center, Unit of Biology of Physical Activity, Faculty of Sport and Health Sciences, University of Jyväskylä, Jyväskylä, Finland.


Abnormal mechanical loading is essential in the onset and progression of knee osteoarthritis. Combined musculoskeletal (MS) and finite element (FE) modeling is a typical method to estimate load distribution and tissue responses in the knee joint. However, earlier combined models mostly utilize static-optimization based MS models and muscle force driven FE models typically use elastic materials for soft tissues or analyze specific time points of gait. Therefore, here we develop an electromyography-assisted muscle force driven FE model with fibril-reinforced poro(visco)elastic cartilages and menisci to analyze knee joint loading during the stance phase of gait. Moreover, since ligament pre-strains are one of the important uncertainties in joint modeling, we conducted a sensitivity analysis on the pre-strains of anterior and posterior cruciate ligaments (ACL and PCL) as well as medial and lateral collateral ligaments (MCL and LCL). The model produced kinematics and kinetics consistent with previous experimental data. Joint contact forces and contact areas were highly sensitive to ACL and PCL pre-strains, while those changed less cartilage stresses, fibril strains, and fluid pressures. The presented workflow could be used in a wide range of applications related to the aetiology of cartilage degeneration, optimization of rehabilitation exercises, and simulation of knee surgeries.

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