The importance of a consistent workflow to estimate muscle-tendon lengths based on joint angles from the conventional gait model

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Background: Musculoskeletal models enable us to estimate muscle-tendon length, which has been shown to improve clinical decision-making and outcomes in children with cerebral palsy. Most clinical gait analysis services, however, do not include muscle-tendon length estimation in their clinical routine. This is due, in part, to a lack of knowledge and trust in the musculoskeletal models, and to the complexity involved in the workflow to obtain the muscle-tendon length. Research question: Can the joint angles obtained with the conventional gait model (CGM) be used to generate accurate muscle-tendon length estimates? Methods: Three-dimensional motion capture data of 15 children with cerebral palsy and 15 typically developing children were retrospectively analyzed and used to estimate muscle-tendon length with the following four modelling frameworks: (1) 2392-OSM-IK-angles: standard OpenSim workflow including scaling, inverse kinematics and muscle analysis; (2) 2392-OSM-CGM-angle: generic 2392-OpenSim model driven with joint angles from the CGM; (3) modif-OSM-IK-angles: standard OpenSim workflow including inverse kinematics and a modified model with segment coordinate systems and joint degrees-of-freedom similar to the CGM; (4) modif-OSM-CGM-angles: modified model driven with joint angles from the CGM. Joint kinematics and muscle-tendon length were compared between the different modelling frameworks. Results: Large differences in hip joint kinematics were observed between the CGM and the 2392-OpenSim model. The modif-OSM showed similar kinematics as the CGM. Muscle-tendon length obtained with modif-OSM-IK-angles and modif-OSM-CGM-angles were similar, whereas large differences in some muscle-tendon length were observed between 2392-OSM-IK-angles and 2392-OSM-CGM-angles. Significance: The modif-OSM-CGM-angles framework enabled us to estimate muscle-tendon lengths without the need for scaling a musculoskeletal model and running inverse kinematics. Hence, muscle-tendon length estimates can be obtained simply, without the need for the complexity, knowledge and time required for musculoskeletal modeling and associated software. An instruction showing how the framework can be used in a clinical setting is provided on

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalGait and Posture
StatePublished - Jul 1 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Author(s)


  • Cerebral palsy
  • Conventional gait model
  • Muscle length
  • Musculoskeletal modelling
  • OpenSim
  • Scaling


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