The Executive Council of the International Society of Biomechanics has initiated and overseen the commemorations of the Society’s 50th Anniversary in 2023. This included multiple series of lectures at the ninth World Congress of Biomechanics in 2022 and XXIXth Congress of the International Society of Biomechanics in 2023, all linked to special issues of International Society of Biomechanics’ affiliated journals. This special issue of the Journal of Applied Biomechanics is dedicated to the biomechanics of the neuromusculoskeletal system. The reader is encouraged to explore this special issue which comprises 6 papers exploring the current state-of the-art, and future directions and roles for neuromusculoskeletal biomechanics. This editorial presents a very brief history of the science of the neuromusculoskeletal system’s 4 main components: the central nervous system, musculotendon units, the musculoskeletal system, and joints, and how they biomechanically integrate to enable an understanding of the generation and control of human movement. This also entails a quick exploration of contemporary neuromusculoskeletal biomechanics and its future with new fields of application.
David G. Lloyd, Ilse Jonkers, Scott L. Delp, and Luca Modenese
Zahra S. Mahdian, Huawei Wang, Mohamed Irfan Mohamed Refai, Guillaume Durandau, Massimo Sartori, and Mhairi K. MacLean
Lower limb exoskeletons and exosuits (“exos”) are traditionally designed with a strong focus on mechatronics and actuation, whereas the “human side” is often disregarded or minimally modeled. Muscle biomechanics principles and skeletal muscle response to robot-delivered loads should be incorporated in design/control of exos. In this narrative review, we summarize the advances in literature with respect to the fusion of muscle biomechanics and lower limb exoskeletons. We report methods to measure muscle biomechanics directly and indirectly and summarize the studies that have incorporated muscle measures for improved design and control of intuitive lower limb exos. Finally, we delve into articles that have studied how the human–exo interaction influences muscle biomechanics during locomotion. To support neurorehabilitation and facilitate everyday use of wearable assistive technologies, we believe that future studies should investigate and predict how exoskeleton assistance strategies would structurally remodel skeletal muscle over time. Real-time mapping of the neuromechanical origin and generation of muscle force resulting in joint torques should be combined with musculoskeletal models to address time-varying parameters such as adaptation to exos and fatigue. Development of smarter predictive controllers that steer rather than assist biological components could result in a synchronized human–machine system that optimizes the biological and electromechanical performance of the combined system.
J.D. DeFreese, Daniel J. Madigan, and Henrik Gustafsson
Koichi Hiraoka, Keita Hashimoto, and Takumi Fukuchi
The present study examined how humans use the target information provided immediately before the onset of motor output to prepare the initial motor command in the target force production task. Twenty healthy individuals participated in this study. A target cursor indicating the target force, and a force cursor indicating the force produced with index finger flexion were presented, and participants produced force in response to the appearance of the force cursor so that it moved toward the target cursor as fast as possible. The rate of force development in a time window of 0–100 ms after the onset of force development, representing the intensity of the initial motor command without online feedback adjustment, was measured. The present findings support the hypotheses that humans use the target information provided immediately before the onset of motor output to prepare the initial motor command, and they simultaneously prepare the initial motor command for the intermediate of multiple potential targets using the information of targets provided in previous trials. Another hypothesis, that humans use the information of the target or motor process of the trial immediately before the current trial to prepare the initial motor command, was not supported.
Justin Fernandez, Vickie Shim, Marco Schneider, Julie Choisne, Geoff Handsfield, Ted Yeung, Ju Zhang, Peter Hunter, and Thor Besier
In this narrative review, we explore developments in the field of computational musculoskeletal model personalization using the Physiome and Musculoskeletal Atlas Projects. Model geometry personalization; statistical shape modeling; and its impact on segmentation, classification, and model creation are explored. Examples include the trapeziometacarpal and tibiofemoral joints, Achilles tendon, gastrocnemius muscle, and pediatric lower limb bones. Finally, a more general approach to model personalization is discussed based on the idea of multiscale personalization called scaffolds.
Alex Bersani, Giorgio Davico, and Marco Viceconti
This review paper provides an overview of the approaches to model neuromuscular control, focusing on methods to identify nonoptimal control strategies typical of populations with neuromuscular disorders or children. Where possible, the authors tightened the description of the methods to the mechanisms behind the underlying biomechanical and physiological rationale. They start by describing the first and most simplified approach, the reductionist approach, which splits the role of the nervous and musculoskeletal systems. Static optimization and dynamic optimization methods and electromyography-based approaches are summarized to highlight their limitations and understand (the need for) their developments over time. Then, the authors look at the more recent stochastic approach, introduced to explore the space of plausible neural solutions, thus implementing the uncontrolled manifold theory, according to which the central nervous system only controls specific motions and tasks to limit energy consumption while allowing for some degree of adaptability to perturbations. Finally, they explore the literature covering the explicit modeling of the coupling between the nervous system (acting as controller) and the musculoskeletal system (the actuator), which may be employed to overcome the split characterizing the reductionist approach.
Kazuya Inoue, Tatsuto Yamada, and Tomu Ohtsuki
Despite the high prevalence of yips, a psychoneuromuscular impairment affecting fine motor skills in sports performance, the specific aspects of its causality and treatment have not been identified or verified. This cross-sectional study examined psychosocial factors relating to throwing yips in baseball. Amateur baseball players (N = 292) living in Japan completed a self-report questionnaire on their anxiety/fear about throwing the ball, the Acceptance and Action Questionnaire-II, the Cognitive Fusion Questionnaire, the Short Fear of Negative Evaluation Scale, and self-reports evaluating values and social factors relevant to baseball. A hierarchical multiple regression analysis indicated that a low values-based throwing score, a high Cognitive Fusion Questionnaire score, and overreprimanding others’ mistakes were positively associated with baseball players’ yips symptoms. These results suggest that changing the context of playing baseball, reducing cognitive fusion, and improving coaching methods could reduce the risk of baseball players’ throwing yips.
David J. Saxby, Claudio Pizzolato, and Laura E. Diamond
There is a powerful global trend toward deeper integration of digital twins into modern life driven by Industry 4.0 and 5.0. Defense, agriculture, engineering, manufacturing, and urban planning sectors have thoroughly incorporated digital twins to great benefit across their respective product lifecycles. Despite clear benefits, a digital twin framework for health and medical sectors is yet to emerge. This paper proposes a digital twin framework for precision neuromusculoskeletal health care. We build upon the International Standards Organization framework for digital twins for manufacturing by presenting best available computational models within a digital twin framework for clinical application. We map a use case for modeling Achilles tendon mechanobiology, highlighting how current modeling practices align with our proposed digital twin framework. Similarly, we map a use case for advanced neurorehabilitation technology, highlighting the role of a digital twin in control of systems where human and machine are interfaced. Future work must now focus on creating an informatic representation to govern how digital data are passed to, from, and within the digital twin, as well as specific standards to declare which measurement systems and modeling methods are acceptable to move toward widespread use of the digital twin framework for precision neuromusculoskeletal health care.
Kirsten Veerkamp, Christopher P. Carty, Niels F.J. Waterval, Thomas Geijtenbeek, Annemieke I. Buizer, David G. Lloyd, Jaap Harlaar, and Marjolein M. van der Krogt
Spasticity is a common impairment within pediatric neuromusculoskeletal disorders. How spasticity contributes to gait deviations is important for treatment selection. Our aim was to evaluate the pathophysiological mechanisms underlying gait deviations seen in children with spasticity, using predictive simulations. A cluster analysis was performed to extract distinct gait patterns from experimental gait data of 17 children with spasticity to be used as comparative validation data. A forward dynamic simulation framework was employed to predict gait with either velocity- or force-based hyperreflexia. This framework entailed a generic musculoskeletal model controlled by reflexes and supraspinal drive, governed by a multiobjective cost function. Hyperreflexia values were optimized to enable the simulated gait to best match experimental gait patterns. Three experimental gait patterns were extracted: (1) increased knee flexion, (2) increased ankle plantar flexion, and (3) increased knee flexion and ankle plantar flexion when compared with typical gait. Overall, velocity-based hyperreflexia outperformed force-based hyperreflexia. The first gait pattern could mostly be explained by rectus femoris and hamstrings velocity-based hyperreflexia, the second by gastrocnemius velocity-based hyperreflexia, and the third by gastrocnemius, soleus, and hamstrings velocity-based hyperreflexia. This study shows how velocity-based hyperreflexia from specific muscles contributes to different spastic gait patterns, which may help in providing targeted treatment.
Kai-Qi Zhang, Yan-Xia Li, Na Lv, Qiang Ma, Shu-Jun Zhang, Xi Zhao, Kai Wang, Li Li, and Lin Li
Proprioception is essential for precise movement as it helps the body transmit important data about its surroundings to the central nervous system for maintaining body posture and position. This study aimed to investigate the effect of direction and joint angle on upper limb proprioception. Thirty individuals (all males) completed a position reproduction activity in 13 directions and three joint angles. It was discovered that upper limb proprioception is dependent on joint angle, direction, and range of motion. The position reproduction error was found to be dependent on the direction, which had a significantly lower accuracy in the direction with a larger range of motion. In addition, upper limb repositioning errors increased at greater limb elevation angles. Our findings also showed that the joint angle did not significantly affect the absolute error of elbow flexion. With an increase in the elbow flexion, the increase of the gravitational moment of the upper arm and hand coupled with the increase of the muscle arm of the biceps brachii possibly causes slight changes in muscle length perceived by spindles or muscular force perceived by Golgi tendon organs.