4 years ago

Computational Stability of Human Knee Joint at Early Stance in Gait: Effects of Muscle Coactivity and Anterior Cruciate Ligament Deficiency

As one of the most complex and vulnerable structures of body, the human knee joint should maintain dynamic equilibrium and stability in occupational and recreational activities. The evaluation of its stability and factors affecting it is vital in performance evaluation/enhancement, injury prevention and treatment managements. Knee stability often manifests itself by pain, hypermobility and giving-way sensations and is usually assessed by the passive joint laxity tests. Mechanical stability of both the human knee joint and the lower extremity at early stance periods of gait (0% and 5%) were quantified here for the first time using a hybrid musculoskeletal model of the lower extremity. The roles of muscle coactivity, simulated by setting minimum muscle activation at 0-10% levels and ACL deficiency, simulated by reducing ACL resistance by up to 85%, on the stability margin as well as joint biomechanics (contact/muscle/ligament forces) were investigated. Dynamic stability was analyzed using both linear buckling and perturbation approaches at the final deformed configurations in gait. The knee joint was much more stable at 0% stance than at 5% due to smaller ground reaction and contact forces. Muscle coactivity, when at lower intensities (<3% of its maximum active force), increased dynamic stability margin. Greater minimum activation levels, however, acted as an ineffective strategy to enhance stability. Coactivation also substantially increased muscle forces, joint loads and ACL force and hence the risk of further injury and degeneration. A deficiency in ACL decreases total ACL force (by 31% at 85% reduced stiffness) and the stability margin of the knee joint at the heel strike. It also markedly diminishes forces in lateral hamstrings (by up to 39%) and contact forces on the lateral plateau (by up to 17%). Current work emphasizes the need for quantification of the lower extremity stability margin in gait.

Publisher URL: www.sciencedirect.com/science

DOI: S0021929017304116

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