A computational method for estimating trunk muscle activations during gait using lower extremity muscle synergies

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One of the surgical treatments for pelvic sarcoma is the restoration of hip function with a custom pelvic prosthesis after cancerous tumor removal. The orthopedic oncologist and orthopedic implant company must make numerous often subjective decisions regarding the design of the pelvic surgery and custom pelvic prosthesis. Using personalized musculoskeletal computer models to predict post-surgery walking function and custom pelvic prosthesis loading is an emerging method for making surgical and custom prosthesis design decisions in a more objective manner. Such predictions would necessitate the estimation of forces generated by muscles spanning the lower trunk and all joints of the lower extremities. However, estimating trunk and leg muscle forces simultaneously during walking based on electromyography (EMG) data remains challenging due to the limited number of EMG channels typically used for measurement of leg muscle activity. This study developed a computational method for estimating unmeasured trunk muscle activations during walking using lower extremity muscle synergies. To facilitate the calibration of an EMG-driven model and the estimation of leg muscle activations, EMG data were collected from each leg. Using non-negative matrix factorization, muscle synergies were extracted from activations of leg muscles. On the basis of previous studies, it was hypothesized that the time-varying synergy activations were shared between the trunk and leg muscles. The synergy weights required to reconstruct the trunk muscle activations were determined through optimization. The accuracy of the synergy-based method was dependent on the number of synergies and optimization formulation. With seven synergies and an increased level of activation minimization, the estimated activations of the erector spinae were strongly correlated with their measured activity. This study created a custom full-body model by combining two existing musculoskeletal models. The model was further modified and heavily personalized to represent various aspects of the pelvic sarcoma patient, all of which contributed to the estimation of trunk muscle activations. This proposed method can facilitate the prediction of post-surgery walking function and pelvic prosthesis loading, as well as provide objective evaluations for surgical and prosthesis design decisions.

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Li, Geng, Ao, Di, Vega, Marleny M., et al.. "A computational method for estimating trunk muscle activations during gait using lower extremity muscle synergies." Frontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology, 10, (2022) Frontiers Media S.A.: https://doi.org/10.3389/fbioe.2022.964359.

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