Static Force Production Analysis in a 3D Musculoskeletal Model of the Cat Hindlimb
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To understand control strategies employed by the central nervous system (CNS) control movement or force generation in a limb, a seven degree of freedom cat hindlimb was modeled. In this study, the biomechanical constraints affecting force generation for balance and postural control were investigated. Due to the redundancies at the muscular and joint levels in the musculoskeletal system, even the muscle coordination pattern to statically produce a certain amount of force/torque at the ground is not straightforward. A 3D musculoskeletal model of the cat hindlimb was created from cat cadaver measurements using Software for Interactive Musculoskeletal Systems (SIMM, Musculographics, Inc.). Six kinematic degrees of freedom and 31 individual hindlimb muscles were modeled. The moment arms of the muscles were extracted from the software model to be used in a linear transformation between muscle activation, and end effector force and moment. The Jacobian matrix that establishes the relationship between joint torques and end effector wrench was calculated. Maximal muscle forces were estimated from the literature. A feasible set of forces that can be generated at the toe was constructed using combination of maximally activated muscle excitations. Because the endpoint torque is typically small in a cat, an optimization algorithm was also performed to maximize the force generation at the end effector while constraining the magnitude of the endpoint torque. The results are compared with the measured force magnitude and direction data from an acute cat hindlimb preparation for different postures. This static model is applicable for understanding muscle coordination during postural responses to small balance perturbations.