Sensitivity of a subject-specific musculoskeletal model to the uncertainties on the joint axes location
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Subject-specific musculoskeletal models have become key tools in the clinical decision-making process. However, the sensitivity of the calculated solution to the unavoidable errors committed while deriving the model parameters from the available information is not fully understood. The aim of this study was to calculate the sensitivity of all the kinematics and kinetics variables to the inter-examiner uncertainty in the identification of the lower limb joint models. The study was based on the computer tomography of the entire lower-limb from a single donor and the motion capture from a body-matched volunteer. The hip, the knee and the ankle joint models were defined following the International Society of Biomechanics recommendations. Using a software interface, five expert anatomists identified on the donor's images the necessary bony locations five times with a three-day time interval. A detailed subject-specific musculoskeletal model was taken from an earlier study, and re-formulated to define the joint axes by inputting the necessary bony locations. Gait simulations were run using OpenSim within a Monte Carlo stochastic scheme, where the locations of the bony landmarks were varied randomly according to the estimated distributions. Trends for the joint angles, moments, and the muscle and joint forces did not substantially change after parameter perturbations. The highest variations were as follows: (a) 11° calculated for the hip rotation angle, (b) 1% BW × H calculated for the knee moment and (c) 0.33 BW calculated for the ankle plantarflexor muscles and the ankle joint forces. In conclusion, the identification of the joint axes from clinical images is a robust procedure for human movement modelling and simulation.