Subject-specific knee joint geometry improves predictions of medial tibiofemoral contact forces

Pauline Gerus, Massimo Sartori, Thor F. Besier, Benjamin J. Fregly, Scott L. Delp, Scott A. Banks, Marcus G. Pandy, Darryl D. D'Lima, David G Lloyd

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

182 Citations (Scopus)


Estimating tibiofemoral joint contact forces is important for understanding the initiation and progression of knee osteoarthritis. However, tibiofemoral contact force predictions are influenced by many factors including muscle forces and anatomical representations of the knee joint. This study aimed to investigate the influence of subject-specific geometry and knee joint kinematics on the prediction of tibiofemoral contact forces using a calibrated EMG-driven neuromusculoskeletal model of the knee. One participant fitted with an instrumented total knee replacement walked at a self-selected speed while medial and lateral tibiofemoral contact forces, ground reaction forces, whole-body kinematics, and lower-limb muscle activity were simultaneously measured. The combination of generic and subject-specific knee joint geometry and kinematics resulted in four different OpenSim models used to estimate muscle-tendon lengths and moment arms. The subject-specific geometric model was created from CT scans and the subject-specific knee joint kinematics representing the translation of the tibia relative to the femur was obtained from fluoroscopy. The EMG-driven model was calibrated using one walking trial, but with three different cost functions that tracked the knee flexion/extension moments with and without constraint over the estimated joint contact forces. The calibrated models then predicted the medial and lateral tibiofemoral contact forces for five other different walking trials. The use of subject-specific models with minimization of the peak tibiofemoral contact forces improved the accuracy of medial contact forces by 47% and lateral contact forces by 7%, respectively compared with the use of generic musculoskeletal model. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2778-2786
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of biomechanics
Issue number16
Publication statusPublished - 15 Nov 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Contact force
  • EMG-driven modeling
  • Knee joint model
  • Muscle force


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