Muscle moment arms of pelvic limb muscles of the ostrich (Struthio camelus)

Structure and Motion Laboratory, The Royal Veterinary College, London, UK.
Journal of Anatomy (Impact Factor: 2.1). 10/2007; 211(3):313-24. DOI: 10.1111/j.1469-7580.2007.00762.x
Source: PubMed


Muscle moment arms were measured for major muscles of the pelvic limb of the ostrich (Struthio camelus) in order to assess specific functional behaviour and to apply this to locomotor performance. Pelvic limbs of six juvenile ostriches were used for this study. The tendon travel technique was used to measure moment arms of 21 muscles at the hip, knee, ankle and metatarsophalangeal joints throughout the ranges of motion observed during level running. Six of the 21 muscles measured were found to have moment arms that did not change with joint angle, whilst the remainder all demonstrated angle-dependent changes for at least one of the joints crossed. Moment arm lengths tended to be longest for the large proximal muscles, whilst the largest relative changes were found for the moment arms of the distal muscles. For muscles where moment arm varied with joint angle: all hip muscles were found to have increasing moment arms with extension of the joint, knee flexors were found to have moment arms that increased with extension, knee extensor moment arms were found to increase with flexion and ankle extensor moment arms increased with extension. The greatest relative changes were observed in the flexors of the metatarsophalangeal joint, for which a three-fold increase in moment arm was observed from flexion to full extension. Changes in muscle moment arm through the range of motion studied appear to optimize muscle function during stance phase, increasing the effective mechanical advantage of these muscles.

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