Modelling force-length-activation relationships of wrist and finger extensor muscles

  • Goislard de Monsabert Benjamin
  • Hauraix Hugo
  • Caumes Mathieu
  • Herbaut Alexis
  • Berton Eric
  • Vigouroux Laurent

  • Hand
  • Muscle Contraction
  • Ultrasonography
  • Electromyography
  • Biological Models


The wrist and finger extensors play a crucial role in the muscle coordination during grasping tasks. Nevertheless, few data are available regarding their force-generating capacities. The objective of this study was to provide a model of the Force-Length-Activation relationships of the hand extensors using non-invasive methods. The extensor carpi radialis (ECR) and the extensor digitorum communis (EDC) were studied as representative of wrist and finger extensors. Ten participants performed isometric extension force-varying contractions in different postures on an ergometer recording resultant moment. The joint angle, the myotendinous junction displacement and activation were synchronously tracked using motion capture, ultrasound, and electromyography. Muscle force was estimated via a musculoskeletal model using the measured joint angle and moment. The Force-Length-Activation relationship was then obtained by fitting a force-length model at different activation levels to the measured data. The obtained relationships agreed with previously reported data regarding muscle architecture, sarcomere length and activation-dependent shift of optimal length. Muscle forces estimated from kinematics and electromyography using the Force-Length-Activation relationships were comparable, below 15% differences, to those estimated from moment via the musculoskeletal model. The obtained quantitative data provides a new insight into the different muscle mechanics of finger and wrist extensors.