Monte Carlo simulation of a planar shoulder model

R. E. Hughes, K. N. An

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


Although variability of anthropometric measures within a population is a well established phenomenon, most biomechanical models are based on average parameter values. For example, optimisation models for predicting muscle forces from net joint reaction moments typically use average muscle moment arms. However, understanding the distribution of musculoskeletal morbidity within a population requires information about the variation of tissue loads within the population. This study investigated the use of Monte Carlo simulation techniques to predict the statistical distribution of deltoid and rotator cuff muscle forces during static arm elevation. Muscle moment arms were modelled either as independent random variables or jointly distributed random variables. Moment arm data was collected on 22 cadaver specimens. The results demonstrated the use of Monte Carlo techniques to describe the statistical distribution of muscle forces. Although assuming statistically independent moment arms did affect the statistical distribution shape, that assumption did not affect the median predicted forces. The standard deviations of muscle forces predicted using Monte Carlo techniques were similar to the standard deviation of muscle force predictions using the whole sample of specimens. It is concluded that Monte Carlo simulation techniques are a useful tool to analyse the interindividual variability of rotator cuff muscle forces.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)544-548
Number of pages5
JournalMedical and Biological Engineering and Computing
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1997


  • Biomechanics
  • Computer simulation
  • Modelling
  • Monte Carlo
  • Muscle force
  • Rotator cuff
  • Shoulder
  • Variability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications


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