Background: The purpose of this study was to use magnetic resonance imaging to measure the moment arm of the flexor digitorum superficialis tendon about the metacarpophalangeal joint of the index, middle, ring, and little fingers when the position and force production level of the index finger was altered. A secondary goal was to create regression models using anthropometric data to predict moment arms of the flexor digitorum superficialis about the metacarpophalangeal joint of each finger. Methods: The hands of subjects were scanned using a 3.0 T magnetic resonance imaging scanner. The metacarpophalangeal joint of the index finger was placed in: flexion, neutral, and extension. For each joint configuration subjects produced no active force (passive condition) and exerted a flexion force to resist a load at the fingertip (active condition). Results: The following was found: (1) The moment arm of the flexor digitorum superficialis at the metacarpophalangeal joint of the index finger (a) increased with the joint flexion and stayed unchanged with finger extension; and (b) decreased with the increase of force at the neutral and extended finger postures and did not change at the flexed posture. (2) The moment arms of the flexor digitorum superficialis tendon of the middle, ring, and little fingers (a) did not change when the index metacarpophalangeal joint position changed (P > 0.20); and (b) The moment arms of the middle and little fingers increased when the index finger actively produced force at the flexed metacarpophalangeal joint posture. (4) The moment arms showed a high correlation with anthropometric measurements. Interpretation: Moment arms of the flexor digitorum superficialis change due to both changes in joint angle and muscle activation; they scale with various anthropometric measures.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine