Determination of Passive Moment-Angle Relationships at the Trapeziometacarpal Joint

  • Domalain Mathieu
  • Vigouroux Laurent
  • Berton Eric


While modeling the trapeziometacarpal (TMC) joint for determination of tendon forces, the TMC has been considered frictionless and passive moments created by soft tissues neglected. This, however, becomes inaccurate when reaching the joint end range of motion and considering that the TMC is entirely crossed by a complex network of skin, ligaments, soft tissues, and tendons. The objective of this study was to evaluate the passive moments with respect to joint posture in order to further include this relationship in biomechanical modeling. An experimental method was proposed to estimate in vivo a global passive moment including the sum of the actions of each passive anatomical structure. An external force was applied at the level of the metacarpophalangeal joint in various directions ranging from neutral position to full extension and full adduction to full abduction. The passive moment was computed and expressed as a function of the adopted joint angles. An exponential regression was then developed to fit the experimental data and to propose a generic passive moment model. Results showed a good agreement between the proposed exponential regression model and the experimental measures. Moreover, it was shown that joint stiffness could represent more than 60% of the net joint moment during a typical pulp grip task. These results showed the necessity to include the data in biomechanical modeling. The results may help predict more realistic tendons force especially in abduction/adduction muscles. [DOI: 10.1115/1.4001397]