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Forearm Posture Affects the Corticospinal Excitability of Intrinsic and Extrinsic Hand Muscles in Dominant and Nondominant Sides

Marco Antonio Cavalcanti Garcia, Thiago Santos de Carvalho, Renan Hiroshi Matsuda, Oswaldo Baffa, Luis Aureliano Imbiriba, and Victor Hugo Souza

Different forearm postures can modulate corticospinal excitability. However, there is no consensus on whether handedness plays a role in such a mechanism. This study investigated the effects of 3 forearm postures (pronation, neutral, and supination) on the corticospinal excitability of muscles from the dominant and nondominant upper limbs. Surface electromyography was recorded from the abductor digiti minimi, flexor pollicis brevis, and flexor carpi radialis from both sides of 12 right-handed volunteers. Transcranial magnetic stimulation pulses were applied to each muscle’s hotspot in both cerebral hemispheres. Motor-evoked potential peak-to-peak amplitude and latency and resting motor threshold were measured. The data were evaluated by analysis of variance. The level of significance was set at 5%. The resting motor threshold was similar for the 3 muscles and both sides. Motor-evoked potential peak-to-peak amplitude from flexor pollicis brevis was lower during supination, and the dominant upper limb latency was longer. The flexor carpi radialis presented lower motor-evoked potential peak-to-peak amplitudes for neutral and shorter latencies during supination. Abductor digiti minimi seemed not to be affected by posture or side. Different muscles from dominant and nondominant sides may undergo corticospinal modulation, even distally localized from a particular joint and under rest.

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Dr Charles J. (Chuck) Dillman: A Remembrance

Robert Shapiro, Robert Gregor, and John Challis

In August 2023, the biomechanics community suffered a significant loss with the death of Dr Charles J. Dillman. His work in the area of sport biomechanics was groundbreaking. In this tribute, 10 former students and 9 former colleagues remember “Chuck” and his impact on their lives, careers, and the field of biomechanics.

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The History and Future of Neuromusculoskeletal Biomechanics

David G. Lloyd, Ilse Jonkers, Scott L. Delp, and Luca Modenese

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.

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Tapping Into Skeletal Muscle Biomechanics for Design and Control of Lower Limb Exoskeletons: A Narrative Review

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.

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A Narrative Review of Personalized Musculoskeletal Modeling Using the Physiome and Musculoskeletal Atlas Projects

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.

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Modeling Human Suboptimal Control: A Review

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.

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A Digital Twin Framework for Precision Neuromusculoskeletal Health Care: Extension Upon Industrial Standards

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.

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Predicting Gait Patterns of Children With Spasticity by Simulating Hyperreflexia

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.

Open access

Running-Related Achilles Tendon Injury: A Prospective Biomechanical Study in Recreational Runners

Jiri Skypala, Joseph Hamill, Michal Sebera, Steriani Elavsky, Andrea Monte, and Daniel Jandacka

There are relatively few running studies that have attempted to prospectively identify biomechanical risk factors associated with Achilles tendon (AT) injuries. Therefore, the aim was to prospectively determine potential running biomechanical risk factors associated with the development of AT injuries in recreational, healthy runners. At study entry, 108 participants completed a set of questionnaires. They underwent an analysis of their running biomechanics at self-selected running speed. The incidence of AT running-related injuries (RRI) was assessed after 1-year using a weekly questionnaire standardized for RRI. Potential biomechanical risk factors for the development of AT RRI injury were identified using multivariable logistic regression. Of the 103 participants, 25% of the sample (15 males and 11 females) reported an AT RRI on the right lower limb during the 1-year evaluation period. A more flexed knee at initial contact (odds ratio = 1.146, P = .034) and at the midstance phase (odds ratio = 1.143, P = .037) were significant predictors for developing AT RRI. The results suggested that a 1-degree increase in knee flexion at initial contact and midstance was associated with a 15% increase in the risk of an AT RRI, thus causing a limitation of training or a stoppage of running in runners.

Free access

In Silico Biomarkers of Motor Function to Inform Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation and Orthopedic Treatment

Ilse Jonkers, Erica Beaucage-Gauvreau, Bryce Adrian Killen, Dhruv Gupta, Lennart Scheys, and Friedl De Groote

In this review, we elaborate on how musculoskeletal (MSK) modeling combined with dynamic movement simulation is gradually evolving from a research tool to a promising in silico tool to assist medical doctors and physical therapists in decision making by providing parameters relating to dynamic MSK function and loading. This review primarily focuses on our own and related work to illustrate the framework and the interpretation of MSK model-based parameters in patients with 3 different conditions, that is, degenerative joint disease, cerebral palsy, and adult spinal deformities. By selecting these 3 clinical applications, we also aim to demonstrate the differing levels of clinical readiness of the different simulation frameworks introducing in silico model-based biomarkers of motor function to inform MSK rehabilitation and treatment, with the application for adult spinal deformities being the most recent of the 3. Based on these applications, barriers to clinical integration and positioning of these in silico technologies within standard clinical practice are discussed in the light of specific challenges related to model assumptions, required level of complexity and personalization, and clinical implementation.