Are joint torque models limited by an assumption of monoarticularity?

This study determines whether maximal voluntary ankle plantar flexor torque could be more accurately represented using a torque generator that is a function of both knee and ankle kinematics. Isovelocity and isometric ankle plantar flexor torques were measured on a single participant for knee joint angles of 111° to 169° (approximately full extension) using a Contrex MJ dynamometer. Maximal voluntary torque was represented by a 19-parameter two-joint function of ankle and knee joint angles and angular velocities with the parameters determined by minimizing a weighted root mean square difference between measured torques and the two-joint function. The weighted root mean square difference between the two-joint function and the measured torques was 10 N-m or 3% of maximum torque. The two-joint function was a more accurate representation of maximal voluntary ankle plantar flexor torques than an existing single-joint function where differences of 19% of maximum torque were found. It is concluded that when the knee is flexed by more than 40°, a two-joint representation is necessary.