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  • Author: Katherine R. Saul x
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Daniel C. McFarland, Alexander G. Brynildsen and Katherine R. Saul

Most upper-extremity musculoskeletal models represent the glenohumeral joint with an inherently stable ball-and-socket, but the physiological joint requires active muscle coordination for stability. The authors evaluated sensitivity of common predicted outcomes (instability, net glenohumeral reaction force, and rotator cuff activations) to different implementations of active stabilizing mechanisms (constraining net joint reaction direction and incorporating normalized surface electromyography [EMG]). Both EMG and reaction force constraints successfully reduced joint instability. For flexion, incorporating any normalized surface EMG data reduced predicted instability by 54.8%, whereas incorporating any force constraint reduced predicted instability by 43.1%. Other outcomes were sensitive to EMG constraints, but not to force constraints. For flexion, incorporating normalized surface EMG data increased predicted magnitudes of joint reaction force and rotator cuff activations by 28.7% and 88.4%, respectively. Force constraints had no influence on these predicted outcomes for all tasks evaluated. More restrictive EMG constraints also tended to overconstrain the model, making it challenging to accurately track input kinematics. Therefore, force constraints may be a more robust choice when representing stability.

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Katherine R. Saul, Meghan E. Vidt, Garry E. Gold and Wendy M. Murray

Our purpose was to characterize shoulder muscle volume and isometric moment, as well as their relationship, for healthy middle-aged adults. Muscle volume and maximum isometric joint moment were assessed for 6 functional muscle groups of the shoulder, elbow, and wrist in 10 middle-aged adults (46–60 y, 5M, 5F). Compared with young adults, shoulder abductors composed a smaller percentage of total muscle volume (P = .0009) and there was a reduction in shoulder adductor strength relative to elbow flexors (P = .012). We observed a consistent ordering of moment-generating capacity among functional groups across subjects. Although total muscle volume spanned a 2.3-fold range, muscle volume was distributed among functional groups in a consistent manner across subjects. On average, 72% of the variation in joint moment could be explained by the corresponding functional group muscle volume. These data are useful for improved modeling of upper limb musculoskeletal performance in middle-aged subjects, and may improve computational predictions of function for this group.

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Allison J. Nelson, Patrick T. Hall, Katherine R. Saul and Dustin L. Crouch

Wearable passive (ie, spring powered) shoulder exoskeletons could reduce muscle output during motor tasks to help prevent or treat shoulder musculoskeletal disorders. However, most wearable passive shoulder exoskeletons have been designed and evaluated for static tasks, so it is unclear how they affect muscle output during dynamic tasks. The authors used a musculoskeletal model and Computed Muscle Control optimization to estimate muscle output with and without a wearable passive shoulder exoskeleton during 2 simulated dynamic tasks: abduction and upward reach. To an existing upper extremity musculoskeletal model, the authors added an exoskeleton model with 3-dimensional representations of the exoskeleton components, including a spring, cam wheel, force-transmitting shoulder cable, and wrapping surfaces that permitted the shoulder cable to wrap over the shoulder. The exoskeleton reduced net muscle-generated moments in positive shoulder elevation by 28% and 62% during the abduction and upward reach, respectively. However, muscle outputs (joint moments and muscle effort) were higher with the exoskeleton than without at some points of the movement. Muscle output was higher with the exoskeleton because the exoskeleton moment opposed the muscle-generated moment in some postures. The results of this study highlight the importance of evaluating muscle output for passive exoskeletons designed to support dynamic movements to ensure that the exoskeletons assist, rather than impede, movement.

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Melissa Daly, Meghan E. Vidt, Joel D. Eggebeen,, W. Greg Simpson, Michael E. Miller, Anthony P. Marsh and Katherine R. Saul

Aging leads to a decline in strength and an associated loss of independence. The authors examined changes in muscle volume, maximum isometric joint moment, functional strength, and 1-repetition maximum (1RM) after resistance training (RT) in the upper extremity of older adults. They evaluated isometric joint moment and muscle volume as predictors of functional strength. Sixteen healthy older adults (average age 75 ± 4.3 yr) were randomized to a 6-wk upper extremity RT program or control group. The RT group increased 1RM significantly (p < .01 for all exercises). Compared with controls, randomization to RT led to greater functional pulling strength (p = .003), isometric shoulder-adduction moment (p = .041), elbow-flexor volume (p = .017), and shoulder-adductor volume (p = .009). Shoulder-muscle volumes and isometric moments were good predictors of functional strength. The authors conclude that shoulder strength is an important factor for performing functional reaching and pulling tasks and a key target for upper extremity RT interventions.

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Elena J. Caruthers, Julie A. Thompson, Ajit M.W. Chaudhari, Laura C. Schmitt, Thomas M. Best, Katherine R. Saul and Robert A. Siston

Sit-to-stand transfer is a common task that is challenging for older adults and others with musculoskeletal impairments. Associated joint torques and muscle activations have been analyzed two-dimensionally, neglecting possible three-dimensional (3D) compensatory movements in those who struggle with sit-to-stand transfer. Furthermore, how muscles accelerate an individual up and off the chair remains unclear; such knowledge could inform rehabilitation strategies. We examined muscle forces, muscleinduced accelerations, and interlimb muscle force differences during sit-to-stand transfer in young, healthy adults. Dynamic simulations were created using a custom 3D musculoskeletal model; static optimization and induced acceleration analysis were used to determine muscle forces and their induced accelerations, respectively. The gluteus maximus generated the largest force (2009.07 ± 277.31 N) and was a main contributor to forward acceleration of the center of mass (COM) (0.62 ± 0.18 m/s2), while the quadriceps opposed it. The soleus was a main contributor to upward (2.56 ± 0.74 m/s2) and forward acceleration of the COM (0.62 ± 0.33 m/s2). Interlimb muscle force differences were observed, demonstrating lower limb symmetry cannot be assumed during this task, even in healthy adults. These findings establish a baseline from which deficits and compensatory strategies in relevant populations (eg, elderly, osteoarthritis) can be identified.

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Anthony C. Santago II, Meghan E. Vidt, Xiaotong Li, Christopher J. Tuohy, Gary G. Poehling, Michael T. Freehill and Katherine R. Saul

Understanding upper limb strength requirements for daily tasks is imperative for early detection of strength loss that may progress to disability due to age or rotator cuff tear. We quantified shoulder strength requirements for 5 upper limb tasks performed by 3 groups: uninjured young adults and older adults, and older adults with a degenerative supraspinatus tear prior to repair. Musculoskeletal models were developed for each group representing age, sex, and tear-related strength losses. Percentage of available strength used was quantified for the subset of tasks requiring the largest amount of shoulder strength. Significant differences in strength requirements existed across tasks: upward reach 105° required the largest average strength; axilla wash required the largest peak strength. However, there were limited differences across participant groups. Older adults with and without a tear used a larger percentage of their shoulder elevation (p < .001, p < .001) and external rotation (p < .001, p = .017) strength than the young adults, respectively. Presence of a tear significantly increased percentage of internal rotation strength compared to young (p < .001) and uninjured older adults (p = .008). Marked differences in strength demand across tasks indicate the need for evaluating a diversity of functional tasks to effectively detect early strength loss, which may lead to disability.