Seong-Won Han, Andrew Sawatsky, Heiliane de Brito Fontana, and Walter Herzog

Many attempts have been made to determine the contribution of individual muscles in an agonistic group to the mechanics of joints. However, previous approaches had the limitations that muscles often could not be controlled in a precise manner, that individual muscles in an agonistic group could not be activated individually, and that individual muscle contributions could not be measured in an actively contracting agonistic group. Here, we introduce a surgical approach that allows for controlled activation of individual muscles of an agonistic group. The approach is illustrated for the vastus lateralis (VL), vastus medialis (VM) and rectus femoris (RF) of the rabbit quadriceps femoris group. We provide exemplar results for potential applications of the approach, such as measuring the pressure distribution in the patellofemoral joint, and the torque–angle relationship of VL, VM and RF when activated individually and when the three muscles are activated simultaneously.

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