Suzanne Cox and co-authors publish their guinea fowl OpenSim model. This paper explores how muscle-tendon compliance and activation interact to effect operating lengths and force capacity of skeletal muscle
S M Cox, K L Easton, M Cromie Lear, R L Marsh, S L Delp, J Rubenson, The Interaction of Compliance and Activation on the Force-Length Operating Range and Force Generating Capacity of Skeletal Muscle: A Computational Study using a Guinea Fowl Musculoskeletal Model, Integrative Organismal Biology, Volume 1, Issue 1, 2019, obz022, https://doi.org/10.1093/iob/obz022
A muscle’s performance is influenced by where it operates on its force–length (F–L) curve. Here we explore how activation and tendon compliance interact to influence muscle operating lengths and force-generating capacity. To study this, we built a musculoskeletal model of the lower limb of the guinea fowl and simulated the F–L operating range during fixed-end fixed-posture contractions for 39 actuators under thousands of combinations of activation and posture using three different muscle models: Muscles with non-compliant tendons, muscles with compliant tendons but no activation-dependent shift in optimal fiber length (L0), and muscles with both compliant tendons and activation-dependent shifts in L0. We found that activation-dependent effects altered muscle fiber lengths up to 40% and increased or decreased force capacity by up to 50% during fixed-end contractions. Typically, activation-compliance effects reduce muscle force and are dominated by the effects of tendon compliance at high activations. At low activation, however, activation-dependent shifts in L0 are equally important and can result in relative force changes for low compliance muscles of up to 60%. There are regions of the F–L curve in which muscles are most sensitive to compliance and there are troughs of influence where these factors have little effect. These regions are hard to predict, though, because the magnitude and location of these areas of high and low sensitivity shift with compliance level. In this study we provide a map for when these effects will meaningfully influence force capacity and an example of their contributions to force production during a static task, namely standing.