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IEEE Trans Rehabil Eng. 1997 Dec;5(4):367-79.

Muscle balance at the knee--moment arms for the normal knee and the ACL-minus knee.

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Biomechanics Laboratory, Orthopaedic Surgery and Rehabilitation, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston 77555, USA.


Forces, moments and stresses at the knee are dependent upon external and internal loading factors including muscle forces, segmental position and velocity, load carried, and the moment arms (mechanical advantage) of the muscle-tendon units. Requisite to prediction of forces and moments is a detailed understanding of effective moment arms throughout the knee range-of-motion (ROM). Existing muscle models for the knee are based upon limited static studies of only a few preserved specimens. The objectives of this report are to develop a comprehensive description of muscle-tendon moment arms for the normal knee and the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL)-minus knee during flexion-extension motion. Recent research results describe two nonorthogonal, nonintersecting axes of motion for the knee--one describing flexion-extension (FE) and the other longitudinal rotation (LR, equivalent to internal-external rotation). The effective flexion-extension moment arms of the muscles crossing the knee were developed with respect to the FE axis in 15 fresh, hemi-pelvis cadaver specimens. The normal moment arms for each of 13 muscles plus the patellar tendon exhibited variable, yet repeatable and recognizable patterns throughout the ROM. For most muscles there was no significant difference between the normal and ACL-minus moment arms. The results provide a basis for more accurate predictions of joint reaction forces and moments as well as useful knowledge for practitioners and therapists to assist in the assessment of muscle balance at the knee following injury, repair, and throughout rehabilitation.

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