The effect of vastus medialis forces on patello-femoral contact: A model-based study

Yasin Y. Dhaher, Leonard E. Kahn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


A mathematical model of the patello-femoral joint was introduced to investigate the impact of the vastus medialis (longus, obliquus) forces on the lateral contact force levels. In the model, the quadriceps were represented as five separate forces: vastus lateralis, vastus intermedius, rectus femoris, vastus medialis longus (VML), and obliquus (VMO). By varying the relative force generation ratios of the quadriceps heads, the patello-femoral contact forces were estimated. We sought to analytically determine the range of forces in the VMO and VML that cause a reduction or an increase of lateral contact forces, often the cause of patello-femoral pain. Our results indicated that increased contact forces are more dependent on combinations of muscle forces than solely VMO weakness. Moreover, our simulation data showed that the contact force levels are also highly dependent on the knee flexion angle. These findings suggest that training targeted to reduce contact forces through certain joint angles could actually result in a significant increase of the contact forces through other joint angles.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)758-767
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Biomechanical Engineering
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Joint Contact Surfaces
  • Patello-Femoral Joint
  • Vastus Medialis Longus
  • Vastus Medialis Obliquus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Physiology (medical)


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