Indexed on: 13 Jul '17Published on: 13 Jul '17Published in: PloS one
Neuromusculoskeletal disorders affecting walking ability are often difficult to manage, in part due to limited understanding of how a patient's lower extremity muscle excitations contribute to the patient's lower extremity joint moments. To assist in the study of these disorders, researchers have developed electromyography (EMG) driven neuromusculoskeletal models utilizing scaled generic musculoskeletal geometry. While these models can predict individual muscle contributions to lower extremity joint moments during walking, the accuracy of the predictions can be hindered by errors in the scaled geometry. This study presents a novel EMG-driven modeling method that automatically adjusts surrogate representations of the patient's musculoskeletal geometry to improve prediction of lower extremity joint moments during walking. In addition to commonly adjusted neuromusculoskeletal model parameters, the proposed method adjusts model parameters defining muscle-tendon lengths, velocities, and moment arms. We evaluated our EMG-driven modeling method using data collected from a high-functioning hemiparetic subject walking on an instrumented treadmill at speeds ranging from 0.4 to 0.8 m/s. EMG-driven model parameter values were calibrated to match inverse dynamic moments for five degrees of freedom in each leg while keeping musculoskeletal geometry close to that of an initial scaled musculoskeletal model. We found that our EMG-driven modeling method incorporating automated adjustment of musculoskeletal geometry predicted net joint moments during walking more accurately than did the same method without geometric adjustments. Geometric adjustments improved moment prediction errors by 25% on average and up to 52%, with the largest improvements occurring at the hip. Predicted adjustments to musculoskeletal geometry were comparable to errors reported in the literature between scaled generic geometric models and measurements made from imaging data. Our results demonstrate that with appropriate experimental data, joint moment predictions for walking generated by an EMG-driven model can be improved significantly when automated adjustment of musculoskeletal geometry is included in the model calibration process.