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A full body musculoskeletal model based on flexible multibody simulation approach utilised in bone strain analysis during human locomotion
journal contributionposted on 2011-06-01, 00:00 authored by R Al Nazer, A Klodowski, Timo RantalainenTimo Rantalainen, A Heinonen, H Sievänen, A Mikkola
Load-induced strains applied to bone can stimulate its development and adaptation. In order to quantify the incident strains within the skeleton, in vivo implementation of strain gauges on the surfaces of bone is typically used. However, in vivo strain measurements require invasive methodology that is challenging and limited to certain regions of superficial bones only such as the anterior surface of the tibia. Based on our previous study [Al Nazer et al. (2008) J Biomech. 41:1036–1043], an alternative numerical approach to analyse in vivo strains based on the flexible multibody simulation approach was proposed. The purpose of this study was to extend the idea of using the flexible multibody approach in the analysis of bone strains during physical activity through integrating the magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technique within the framework. In order to investigate the reliability and validity of the proposed approach, a three-dimensional full body musculoskeletal model with a flexible tibia was used as a demonstration example. The model was used in a forward dynamics simulation in order to predict the tibial strains during walking on a level exercise. The flexible tibial model was developed using the actual geometry of human tibia, which was obtained from three-dimensional reconstruction of MRI. Motion capture data obtained from walking at constant velocity were used to drive the model during the inverse dynamics simulation in order to teach the muscles to reproduce the motion in the forward dynamics simulation. Based on the agreement between the literature-based in vivo strain measurements and the simulated strain results, it can be concluded that the flexible multibody approach enables reasonable predictions of bone strain in response to dynamic loading. The information obtained from the present approach can be useful in clinical applications including devising exercises to prevent bone fragility or to accelerate fracture healing.