Journal of Biomechanics vol:43 issue:10 pages:1876-1883
We assessed and compared sensitivities of dynamic simulations to musculotendon (MT) parameters for gait and dynamometer experiments. Our aim with this comparison was to investigate whether dynamometer experiments could provide information about MT-parameters that are important to reliably study MT-function during gait. This would mean that dynamometer experiments could be used to estimate these parameters. Muscle contribution to the joint torque (MT-torque) rather than relative MT-force primarily affects the resulting gait pattern and torque measured by the dynamometer. In contrast to recent studies, therefore, we assessed the sensitivity of the MT-torque, rather than the sensitivity of the relative MT-force. Based on sensitivity of the MT-torque to a parameter perturbation, MT-parameters of the knee flexors and extensors were classified in three categories: low, medium, and high. For gait, classification was based on the average sensitivity during a gait cycle. For isometric and isokinetic dynamometer experiments, classification was based on the highest sensitivity found in the experiments. The calculated muscle contributions to the knee torque during gait and dynamometer experiments had a high sensitivity to only a limited number of MT-parameters of the knee flexors and extensors, suggesting that not all MT-parameters need to be estimated. In general, the highest sensitivity was found for tendon slack length. However, for some muscles the sensitivity to the optimal fibre length or the maximal isometric muscle force was also high or medium. The classification of the individual MT-parameters for gait and dynamometer experiments was largely similar. We therefore conclude that dynamometer experiments provide information about MT-parameters important to reliably study MT-function during gait, so that subject-specific estimates of MT-parameters could be made based on dynamometer experiments.