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Predicting the Effects of Muscle Activation on Knee, Thigh, and Hip Injuries in Frontal Crashes Using a Finite-Element Model with Muscle Forces from Subject Testing and Musculoskeletal Modeling
Published November 02, 2009 by The Stapp Association in United States
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In a previous study, the authors reported on the development of a finite-element model of the midsize male pelvis and lower extremities with lower-extremity musculature that was validated using PMHS knee-impact response data. Knee-impact simulations with this model were performed using forces from four muscles in the lower extremities associated with two-foot bracing reported in the literature to provide preliminary estimates of the effects of lower-extremity muscle activation on knee-thigh-hip injury potential in frontal impacts. The current study addresses a major limitation of these preliminary simulations by using the AnyBody three-dimensional musculoskeletal model to estimate muscle forces produced in 35 muscles in each lower extremity during emergency one-foot braking. To check the predictions of the AnyBody Model, activation levels of twelve major muscles in the hip and lower extremities were measured using surface EMG electrodes on 12 midsize-male subjects performing simulated maximum and 50% of maximum braking in a laboratory seating buck. Comparisons between test results and the predictions of the AnyBody Model when it was used to simulate these same braking tests suggest that the AnyBody model appropriately predicts agonistic muscle activations but under predicts antagonistic muscle activations.
Simulations of knee-to-knee-bolster impacts were performed by impacting the knees of the lower-extremity finite element model with and without the muscle forces predicted by the validated AnyBody Model. Results of these simulations confirm previous findings that muscle tension increases knee-impact force by increasing the effective mass of the KTH complex due to tighter coupling of muscle mass to bone. They also indicate that muscle activation preferentially couples mass distal to the hip, thereby accentuating the decrease in femur force from the knee to the hip. However, the reduction in force transmitted from the knee to the hip is offset by the increased force at the knee and by increased compressive forces at the hip due to activation of lower-extremity muscles. As a result, approximately 45% to 60% and 50% to 65% of the force applied to the knee is applied to the hip in the simulations without and with muscle tension, respectively. The simulation results suggest that lower-extremity muscle tension has little effect on the risk of hip injuries, but it increases the bending moments in the femoral shaft, thereby increasing the risk of femoral shaft fractures by 20%-40%. However, these findings may be affected by the inability of the AnyBody Model to appropriately predict antagonistic muscle forces.