A musculoskeletal model of the hand and wrist: model definition and evaluation

M. Mirakhorlo*, N. Van Beek, M. Wesseling, H. Maas, H. E.J. Veeger, I. Jonkers

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


To improve our understanding on the neuromechanics of finger movements, a comprehensive musculoskeletal model is needed. The aim of this study was to build a musculoskeletal model of the hand and wrist, based on one consistent data set of the relevant anatomical parameters. We built and tested a model including the hand and wrist segments, as well as the muscles of the forearm and hand in OpenSim. In total, the model comprises 19 segments (with the carpal bones modeled as one segment) with 23 degrees of freedom and 43 muscles. All required anatomical input data, including bone masses and inertias, joint axis positions and orientations as well as muscle morphological parameters (i.e. PCSA, mass, optimal fiber length and tendon length) were obtained from one cadaver of which the data set was recently published. Model validity was investigated by first comparing computed muscle moment arms at the index finger metacarpophalangeal (MCP) joint and wrist joint to published reference values. Secondly, the muscle forces during pinching were computed using static optimization and compared to previously measured intraoperative reference values. Computed and measured moment arms of muscles at both index MCP and wrist showed high correlation coefficients (r = 0.88 averaged across all muscles) and modest root mean square deviation (RMSD = 23% averaged across all muscles). Computed extrinsic flexor forces of the index finger during index pinch task were within one standard deviation of previously measured in-vivo tendon forces. These results provide an indication of model validity for use in estimating muscle forces during static tasks.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)548-557
Number of pages10
JournalComputer methods in biomechanics and biomedical engineering
Issue number9
Early online date26 Sept 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2018


This research is funded by the European Commission through MOVE-AGE, an Erasmus Mundus Joint Doctorate program (2011-0015).

FundersFunder number
European Commission2011-0015


    • Finger
    • moment arm
    • pinch force


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