Tibialis Anterior Moment Arm: Effects of Measurement Errors and Assumptions

Document Type



Lippincott Williams and Wilkins


Health, Engineering and Science


School of Exercise and Health Sciences


This article was originally published as: Miller, S. C., Korff, T., Waugh, C., Fath, F., & Blazevich, A. J. (2015). Tibialis anterior moment arm: effects of measurement errors and assumptions. Medicine and science in sports and exercise, 47(2), 428-439. Original article available here


Accurate estimates of tibialis anterior (TA) muscle force are important in many contexts. Two approaches commonly used to estimate moment arms are the tendon excursion (TE) and geometric (GEO) methods. Previous studies report poor agreement between the two approaches. PURPOSE: The purposes of this study were to 1) assess the effect of methodological variations in the two methods of moment arm estimation and 2) determine how these variations affect agreement between the methods. METHODS: TA moment arms were determined using TE and GEO. Errors associated with tendon stretch/hysteresis, talus rotation relative to the foot, and the location of the line of action were investigated. RESULTS: For TE, large errors in moment arm estimates across the range of motion were found when tendon length changes (P = 0.001) were not corrected for. For GEO, the estimated moment arm was reduced at an ankle angle of -15° when discrepancies between talus and foot rotations were accounted for or when an alternative tendon line of action was used either separately (effect size (ES), 0.46 and 0.58, respectively; P > 0.05) or together (ES, 0.89; P > 0.05). TE-derived moment arms were smaller than GEO-derived moment arms (ES, 0.68-4.86, varying by angle) before accounting for sources of error. However, these differences decreased after error correction (ES, 0.09-1.20, P > 0.05). Nonetheless, the shape of the moment arm-joint angle relation was curvilinear for TE but linear for GEO. CONCLUSIONS: Of all methodological modifications, accounting for tendon length changes had the largest effect on TA moment arm estimates. We conclude that the TE method is viable to determine TA moment arms as long as changes in tendon length are accounted for.