Position dependence of ankle joint dynamics-II. Active mechanics

P. L. Weiss, R. E. Kearney, I. W. Hunter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


System identification techniques were used to examine the position dependence of active ankle joint mechanics. Subjects were required to maintain tonic contractions in either the tibialis anterior (TA) or triceps surae (TS) muscles while the ankle was stochastically displaced about different mean angular positions. The dynamic relation between ankle position and torque was determined for each mean position/tonic torque combination; a non-linear minimization technique was used to estimate the three parameters (inertial, viscous and elastic) of a second-order, underdamped system. Whereas the inertial parameter remained essentially invariant across all test conditions, the viscous and elastic (K) parameters became larger as the level of tonic activity increased and as the joint was rotated toward the extremes of the range of motion. The relation between K and torque was linear at all ankle angles. The slope of this relation remained constant at all mean positions during plantarflexor contractions; during dorsiflexor contractions the slope increased as the ankle was rotated from maximum plantarflexion to maximum dorsiflexion. These findings are discussed in terms of: (1) the physiological correlates of ankle mean position, (2) the relative significance of passive and active joint mechanics and (3) contrasts in joint behaviour during active dorsiflexor and plantarflexor contractions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)737-751
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Biomechanics
Issue number9
StatePublished - 1986
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgements-Thwiso rk hasb eens upportedb y grants from Fonds de la Recherchee n SantC du Qutbec,t he Canadian Medical ResearchC ouncil and the National Sciencea nd EngineeringR esearchC ouncil.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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