Analysis of musculoskeletal loading in an index finger during tapping

John Z. Wu, Kai Nan An, Robert G. Cutlip, Kristine Krajnak, Daniel Welcome, Ren G. Dong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


Since musculoskeletal disorders of the upper extremities are believed to be associated with repetitive excessive muscle force production in the hands, understanding the time-dependent muscle forces during key tapping is essential for exploring the mechanisms of disease initiation and development. In the current study, we have simulated the time-dependent dynamic loading in the muscle/tendons in an index finger during tapping. The index finger model is developed using a commercial software package AnyBody, and it contains seven muscle/tendons that connect the three phalangeal finger sections. Our simulations indicate that the ratios of the maximal forces in flexor digitorum superficialis (FS) and flexor digitorum profundus (FP) tendons to the maximal force at the fingertip are 0.95 and 2.9, respectively, which agree well with recently published experimental data. The time sequence of the finger muscle activation predicted in the current study is consistent with the EMG data in the literature. The proposed model will be useful for bioengineers and ergonomic designers to improve keyboard design minimizing musculoskeletal loadings in the fingers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)668-676
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Biomechanics
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2008


  • Index finger
  • Muscle force
  • Muscle-tendon excursion
  • Simulations
  • Tapping

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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