A probabilistic finger biodynamic model better depicts the roles of the flexors during unloaded flexion

Kang Li, Xudong Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Scopus citations


Previous deterministic finger biomechanical models predicted that the flexor digitorum superficialis (FDS) was silent and the flexor digitorum profundus (FDP) was the only active flexor during finger flexion. Experimental studies in vivo, however, recorded activities of both flexors. In this study, in an attempt to elucidate the roles of the flexors, a probabilistic biodynamic model of the index finger was constructed to estimate the muscle-tendon forces during an experimentally measured index finger flexion movement.A Monte-Carlo simulation was performed with four model parameters, including moment arms, physiological cross sectional areas (PCSA), passive torques, and anthropometric measures as independent random variables. The muscle-tendon forces at each time point were determined using a nonlinear optimization technique. The model predicted that both FDS and FDP contributed to sustaining the movement and the FDS was not necessarily silent. The two distinct force patterns observed in vivo in experimental studies were also corroborated by the simulation. These findings, contrary to previous deterministic models' predictions but in agreement with experimental measurements, explained the observed coactivation of FDS and FDP, and resolved the controversy regarding the roles of the flexors in finger movement dynamics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2618-2624
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Biomechanics
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1 2010
Externally publishedYes


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biophysics
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Rehabilitation


  • Biodynamical modeling
  • Monte-Carlo simulation
  • Parameter variability
  • Probabilistic model

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