Development of a computational elbow model with experimental validation of kinematics and muscle forces
Journal of Applied Biomechanics
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© 2016 Human Kinetics, Inc. A computational elbow joint model was developed with a main goal of providing complimentary data to experimental results. The computational model was developed and validated using an experimental elbow joint phantom consisting of a linked total joint replacement. An established in-vitro motion simulator was used to actively flex/extend the experimental elbow in multiple orientations. Muscle forces predicted by the computational model were similar to the experimental model in 4 out of the 5 orientations with errors less than 7.5 N. Valgus angle kinematics were in agreement with differences less than 2.3°. In addition, changes in radial head length, a clinically relevant condition following elbow reconstruction, were simulated in both models and compared. Both lengthening and shortening of the radial head prosthesis altered muscle forces by less than 3.5 N in both models, and valgus angles agreed within 1°. The computational model proved valuable in cross validation with the experimental model, elucidating important limitations in the in-vitro motion simulator's controller. With continued development, the computational model can be a complimentary tool to experimental studies by providing additional noninvasive outcome measurements.