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Concept: Musculoskeletal system


BACKGROUND: A common goal of persons post-stroke is to regain community ambulation. The plantar flexor muscles play an important role in propulsion generation and swing initiation as previous musculoskeletal simulations have shown. The purpose of this study was to demonstrate that simulation results quantifying changes in plantar flexor activation and function in individuals post-stroke were consistent with (1) the purpose of an intervention designed to enhance plantar flexor function and (2) expected muscle function during gait based on previous literature. METHODS: Three-dimensional, forward dynamic simulations were created to determine the changes in model activation and function of the paretic ankle plantar flexor muscles for eight patients post-stroke after a 12-weeks FastFES gait retraining program. RESULTS: An median increase of 0.07 (Range [-0.01,0.22]) was seen in simulated activation averaged across all plantar flexors during the double support phase of gait from pre- to post-intervention. A concurrent increase in walking speed and plantar flexor induced forward center of mass acceleration by the plantar flexors was seen post-intervention for seven of the eight subject simulations. Additionally, post-training, the plantar flexors had an simulated increase in contribution to knee flexion acceleration during double support. CONCLUSIONS: For the first time, muscle-actuated musculoskeletal models were used to simulate the effect of a gait retraining intervention on post-stroke muscle model predicted activation and function. The simulations showed a new pattern of simulated activation for the plantar flexor muscles after training, suggesting that the subjects activated these muscles with more appropriate timing following the intervention. Functionally, simulations calculated that the plantar flexors provided greater contribution to knee flexion acceleration after training, which is important for increasing swing phase knee flexion and foot clearance.

Concepts: Knee, Sartorius muscle, Flexion, Extension, Semitendinosus muscle, Semimembranosus muscle, Popliteus muscle, Musculoskeletal system


Strong evidence indicates that highly repetitive manual work is associated with the development of upper extremity musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). One of the occupational activities that involves highly repetitive and forceful hand work is manual pipetting in chemical or biological laboratories. In the current study, we quantified tendon displacement as a parameter to assess the cumulative loading exposure of the musculoskeletal system in the thumb during pipetting. The maximal tendon displacement was found in the flexor pollicis longus (FPL) tendon. Assuming that subjects' pipetting rates were maintained constant during a period of 1h, the average accumulated tendon displacement in the FPL reached 29m, which is in the lower range of those observed in other occupational activities, such as typing and nail gun operations. Our results showed that tendon displacement data contain relatively small standard deviations, despite high variances in thumb kinematics, suggesting that the tendon displacements may be useful in evaluating the musculoskeletal loading profile.

Concepts: Variance, Standard deviation, Flexor pollicis longus muscle, Extensor pollicis brevis muscle, Michigan, Musculoskeletal system


A high proportion of flexor digitorum longus attachment is found at the posteromedial border of the tibia, which is the most common location of medial tibial stress syndrome (MTSS). Therefore, plantar flexion strength of the lesser toes could be related to MTSS; however, the relationship between MTSS and muscle strength of the hallux and lesser toes is not yet evaluated due to the lack of quantitative methods. This study investigated the muscle strength characteristics in runners with a history of MTSS by using a newly developed device to measure the muscle strength of the hallux, lesser toes, and ankle.

Concepts: Psychology, Foot, Hallux, Knee, Social sciences, Toe, Morton's toe, Musculoskeletal system


Two experiments (n = 10) were conducted to determine the effects of roller massager (RM) on ankle plantar flexor muscle recovery after exercise-induced muscle damage (EIMD). Experiment 1 examined both functional [i.e., ankle plantar flexion maximal isometric contraction and submaximal (30%) sustained force; ankle dorsiflexion maximal range of motion and resistance to stretch; and medial gastrocnemius pain pressure threshold] and morphological [cross-sectional area, thickness, fascicle length, and fascicle angle] variables, before and immediately, 1, 24, 48, and 72 h after an EIMD stimulus. Experiment 2 examined medial gastrocnemius deoxyhaemoglobin concentration kinetics before and 48 h after EIMD. Participants performed both experiments twice: with (RM) and without (no-roller massager; NRM) the application of a RM (6 × 45 s; 20-s rest between sets). RM intervention did not alter the functional impairment after EIMD, as well as the medial gastrocnemius morphology and oxygenation kinetics (P > 0.05). Although, an acute increase of ipsilateral (RM = + 19%, NRM = -5%, P = 0.032) and a strong tendency for contralateral (P = 0.095) medial gastrocnemius pain pressure threshold were observed. The present results suggest that a RM has no effect on plantar flexors performance, morphology, and oxygenation recovery after EIMD, except for muscle pain pressure threshold (i.e., a soreness).

Concepts: Knee, Flexion, Peripheral neuropathy, Hip flexors, Dorsiflexion, Flexor muscle, Musculoskeletal system, Plantarflexion


Birds have highly mobile necks, but neither the details of how they realize complex poses nor the evolution of this complex musculoskeletal system is well-understood. Most previous work on avian neck function has focused on dorsoventral flexion, with few studies quantifying lateroflexion or axial rotation. Such data are critical for understanding joint function, as musculoskeletal movements incorporate motion around multiple degrees of freedom simultaneously. Here we use biplanar X-rays on wild turkeys to quantify three-dimensional cervical joint range of motion in an avian neck to determine patterns of mobility along the cranial-caudal axis.

Concepts: Function, Dimension, Bird, Classical mechanics, Turkey, Galliformes, Motion, Musculoskeletal system


Objectives The aim of the study was to assess the effectiveness of the use of part-time sick leave at the early (first 12 weeks) stage of work disability due to mental disorder or musculoskeletal disease on sustained return to work (RTW) and overall work participation. Methods In a nation-wide register-based quasi-experimental study, we compared sustained RTW (ie, ≥28 consecutive days at work) and 2-year work participation between the part- and full-time sickness absence (SA) benefit groups (N=1878 in each group) using propensity-score matching. Persons who received partial or full SA benefit due to musculoskeletal diseases or mental disorders between January 1, 2010 and December 31, 2011 were eligible as cases or controls, respectively. Results A higher proportion showed sustained RTW after part- compared to full-time sick leave [absolute risk difference 8.0%, 95% confidence interval (95% CI) 5.3-10.9]. Moreover, the proportion of time at work was at a 10.5% higher level in the part- compared to full-time sick leave group. The prevalence of full disability retirement was almost three-fold among the full- compared to part-time sick leave group, whereas partial disability retirement was 4.5-fold more prevalent in the part- compared to full-time sick leave group. Conclusions The use of part-time sick leave during the first three months of SA enhances RTW and overall work participation during two years among persons with mental disorders and musculoskeletal diseases. The prescription of part-time sick leave can be recommended at an early stage of work disability.

Concepts: Epidemiology, Disease, Medical statistics, Mental disorder, Disability, Human musculoskeletal system, Musculoskeletal system, Musculoskeletal disorders


Research into rare diseases is becoming more common, with recognition of the significant diagnostic and therapeutic care gaps. Registries are considered a key research methodology to address rare diseases. This report describes the structure of the Rare UK Diseases Study (RUDY) platform that aims to improve research processes and address many of the challenges of carrying out rare musculoskeletal disease research. RUDY is an internet-based platform with online registration, initial verbal consent, online capture of patient reported outcome measures and events within a dynamic consent framework. The database structure, security and governance framework are described.

Concepts: Scientific method, Medicine, Epidemiology, Database, Prevalence, Human musculoskeletal system, Musculoskeletal system, Musculoskeletal disorders


Wearable robotic devices can restore and enhance mobility. There is growing interest in designing devices that reduce the metabolic cost of walking; however, designers lack guidelines for which joints to assist and when to provide the assistance. To help address this problem, we used musculoskeletal simulation to predict how hypothetical devices affect muscle activity and metabolic cost when walking with heavy loads. We explored 7 massless devices, each providing unrestricted torque at one degree of freedom in one direction (hip abduction, hip flexion, hip extension, knee flexion, knee extension, ankle plantarflexion, or ankle dorsiflexion). We used the Computed Muscle Control algorithm in OpenSim to find device torque profiles that minimized the sum of squared muscle activations while tracking measured kinematics of loaded walking without assistance. We then examined the metabolic savings provided by each device, the corresponding device torque profiles, and the resulting changes in muscle activity. We found that the hip flexion, knee flexion, and hip abduction devices provided greater metabolic savings than the ankle plantarflexion device. The hip abduction device had the greatest ratio of metabolic savings to peak instantaneous positive device power, suggesting that frontal-plane hip assistance may be an efficient way to reduce metabolic cost. Overall, the device torque profiles generally differed from the corresponding net joint moment generated by muscles without assistance, and occasionally exceeded the net joint moment to reduce muscle activity at other degrees of freedom. Many devices affected the activity of muscles elsewhere in the limb; for example, the hip flexion device affected muscles that span the ankle joint. Our results may help experimentalists decide which joint motions to target when building devices and can provide intuition for how devices may interact with the musculoskeletal system. The simulations are freely available online, allowing others to reproduce and extend our work.

Concepts: Energy, Muscle, Knee, Hip, Joints, Flexion, Extension, Musculoskeletal system


This study compared adaptations in fascicle lengths, pennation angles, and muscle thickness of the lateral and medial gastrocnemii in response to 6 weeks of stretch training. The nondominant plantar flexors of 11 males were stretched five times per week for 6 weeks and compared with the contralateral leg and a nonstretched control group of 10 males. During stretch training, instantaneous electromyography was utilized to ensure passive muscle stretch. At baseline, week three, week six and 1 week after the conclusion of stretch training, ultrasound was used to measure fascicle lengths, pennation angles, muscle thickness of the lateral gastrocnemius and medial gastrocnemius, and Achilles tendon thickness and length. Plantar flexion torque was measured, and voluntary activation was assessed. Muscle thickness increased 5.6% after 6 weeks of stretch training (P=.009). The fascicles in the lateral gastrocnemius lengthened to a greater extent than the medial. Overall, fascicles lengthened 25% (P<.001) in the muscle tendon junction and 5.1% (P<.001) in the muscle belly. Pennation angles were unchanged in the medial gastrocnemius but decreased in the lateral gastrocnemius 7.1% (P=.02). There was no change in maximal voluntary contraction, voluntary activation, tendon length, or thickness. This study demonstrates that stretch training is a viable modality to alter muscle architecture of the human gastrocnemius through lengthening of muscle fascicles, decreasing pennation angles, and increasing muscle thickness, albeit adaptations are unequal between the lateral and medial heads.

Concepts: Muscle, Knee, Units of measurement, Tendon, Length, Order theory, Musculoskeletal system, Muscle fascicle


The purpose of the present research was to indentify the contribution of central vs. peripheral factors to the force loss after passive muscle stretching. Thirteen men randomly performed both a 5-min constant-torque stretch of the plantar flexors on an isokinetic dynamometer and a resting condition on two separate days. The triceps surae electromyogram (EMG) was recorded simultaneously with plantar flexor isometric torque. Measures of central drive, including the EMG amplitude normalized to the muscle compound action potential amplitude (EMG:M), percent voluntary activation (%VA) and first volitional wave amplitude (V:M), and measures of peripheral function, including the twitch peak torque, 20:80 Hz tetanic torque ratio and torque during 20 Hz stimulation preceded by a doublet, were taken before, and immediately and 15 min after each condition. Peak torque (-15.7%), EMG:M (-8.2%), and both twitch (-9.4%) and 20 Hz (-11.5%) peak torques were reduced immediately after stretch but recovered by 15 min. There were strong correlations between the torque loss and the reductions in central drive parameters (r=0.65-0.93). Torque recovery was also strongly correlated with the recovery in EMG:M and %VA (r=0.77-0.81). The moderate decreases in measures of peripheral function were not related to the torque loss or recovery. These results suggest that: 1) central factors were strongly related to the torque reduction immediately after stretch and during torque recovery; and 2) the muscle’s contractile capacity was moderately reduced, although these changes were not associated with the torque reduction and changes in E-C coupling efficiency were not observed.

Concepts: Energy, Torque, Force, Electromyography, Chinese language, Stretching, Amplitude, Musculoskeletal system