Using EMG data to constrain optimization procedure improves finger tendon tension estimations during static fingertip force production.

  • Vigouroux Laurent
  • Quaine Franck
  • Labarre-Vila Annick
  • Amarantini David
  • Moutet François

  • Biomechanical finger model
  • Muscle tendon tension
  • Numerical optimization
  • Intra-muscular electromyography


Determining tendon tensions of the finger muscles is crucial for the understanding and the rehabilitation of hand pathologies. Since no direct measurement is possible for a large number of finger muscle tendons, biomechanical modelling presents an alternative solution to indirectly evaluate these forces. However, the main problem is that the number of muscles spanning a joint exceeds the number of degrees of freedom of the joint resulting in mathematical under-determinate problems. In the current study, a method using both numerical optimization and the intra-muscular electromyography (EMG) data was developed to estimate the middle finger tendon tensions during static fingertip force production. The method used a numerical optimization procedure with the muscle stress squared criterion to determine a solution while the EMG data of three extrinsic hand muscles serve to enforce additional inequality constraints. The results were compared with those obtained with a classical numerical optimization and a method based on EMG only. The proposed method provides satisfactory results since the tendon tension estimations respected the mechanical equilibrium of the musculoskeletal system and were concordant with the EMG distribution pattern of the subjects. These results were not observed neither with the classical numerical optimization nor with the EMG-based method. This study demonstrates that including the EMG data of the three extrinsic muscles of the middle finger as inequality constraints in an optimization process can yield relevant tendon tensions with regard to individual muscle activation patterns, particularly concerning the antagonist muscles.