Modelling tendon excursions and moment arms of the finger flexors: Anatomic fidelity versus function
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A detailed musculoskeletal model of the human hand is needed to investigate the pathomechanics of tendon disorders and carpal tunnel syndrome. The purpose of this study was to develop a biomechanical model with realistic flexor tendon excursions and moment arms. An existing upper extremity model served as a starting point, which included programmed movement of the index finger. Movement capabilities were added for the other fingers. Metacarpophalangeal articulations were modelled as universal joints to simulate flexion/extension and abduction/adduction while interphalangeal articulations used hinges to represent flexion. Flexor tendon paths were modelled using two approaches. The first method constrained tendons with control points, representing annular pulleys. The second technique used wrap objects at the joints as tendon constraints. Both control point and joint wrap models were iteratively adjusted to coincide with tendon excursions and moment arms from a anthropometric regression model using inputs for a 50th percentile male. Tendon excursions from the joint wrap method best matched the regression model even though anatomic features of the tendon paths were not preserved (absolute differences: mean<0.33 mm, peak<0.74 mm). The joint wrap model also produced similar moment arms to the regression (absolute differences: mean<0.63 mm, peak<1.58 mm). When a scaling algorithm was used to test anthropometrics, the scaled joint wrap models better matched the regression than the scaled control point models. Detailed patient-specific anatomical data will improve model outcomes for clinical use; however, population studies may benefit from simplified geometry, especially with anthropometric scaling.
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