A dynamic musculoskeletal model of the elbow joint in which muscle, ligament, and articular surface contact forces are predicted concurrently would be an ideal tool for patient-specific preoperative planning, computer-aided surgery, and rehabilitation. Existing musculoskeletal elbow joint models have limited clinical applicability because of idealizing the elbow as a mechanical hinge joint or ignoring important soft tissue (e.g., cartilage) contributions. The purpose of this study was to develop a subject-specific anatomically correct musculoskeletal elbow joint model and evaluate it based on experimental kinematics and muscle electromyography measurements. The model included three-dimensional bone geometries, a joint constrained by multiple ligament bundles, deformable contacts, and the natural oblique wrapping of ligaments. The musculoskeletal model predicted the bone kinematics reasonably accurately in three different velocity conditions. The model predicted timing and number of muscle excitations, and the normalized muscle forces were also in agreement with the experiment. The model was able to predict important in vivo parameters that are not possible to measure experimentally, such as muscle and ligament forces, and cartilage contact pressure. In addition, the developed musculoskeletal model was computationally efficient for body-level dynamic simulation. The maximum computation time was less than 30 min for our 35 s simulation. As a predictive clinical tool, the potential medical applications for this model and modeling approach are significant.
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