Levers in Musculoskeletal System

• Lever - simple machine consisting of a rigid,
barlike body that can be made to rotate around
an axis
• Components -
– Fulcrum-pivot or where rotation occurs (axis of
rotation) (ex. joints)
– Force arm- distance between the fulcrum to the
point where a motive force is applied (ex. tendon
attachment of agonist muscle)
– Resistance arm - distance between the fulcrum to
the point where the resistance is applied (weight,
[and/or inertia] of body segments or outside loads)



fulcrum
motive force
resistance
arm
resistance
force
arm
Lever
fulcrum
applied force
resistance
arm
resistance
force
arm
First Class Lever
Examples: see-saw, scissors, crowbar
D
FA
= D
RA

D
FA
> D
RA

D
FA
< D
RA

Second Class Lever
fulcrum
resistance
applied
force
resistance
arm
force arm
Examples: wheelbarrow, wrench, nutcracker

D
FA
> D
RA


Third Class Lever
fulcrum
resistance
applied force
resistance arm
force
arm
Examples: paddling boat, most muscle-joint systems

D
FA
< D
RA


Lever Examples
1st class
2nd class
3rd class
Musculoskeletal Levers - 1st Class
• Triceps brachii


Ftriceps
F
weight

shoulder
elbow
Also: neck extension,
plantar flexion
(foot on gas pedal)
Musculoskeletal Levers - 1st Class
• Neck extension


Musculoskeletal Levers - 1st Class
• Gastrocnemius,
• Soleus


Musculoskeletal Levers - 1st Class
• Agonist/antagonist
muscle pairs act as 1st
Class Levers!!


Fagonist
Fantagonist
Musculoskeletal Levers - 2nd Class
• Gastrocnemius can be
a second class lever
when jumping or
doing toe raises.


fulcrum
D
RA

D
FA

R
F
M

Gastrocnemius - 2nd Class Lever


a
q
Fm
• wheelbarrow
TOES
BW
Axis
ANKLE

Gastrocnemius can be
a second class lever
when jumping or
doing toe raises.
Musculoskeletal Levers - 3rd Class
D
FA

D
RA

F
M

R
F
RO

• Primarily
third class
levers
Mechanical Advantage
• Mechanical Advantage: effectiveness of a lever system in
moving a resistance
• Ratio: DFA/DRA

• DFA > DRA
– The applied force to needed to successfully move a resistance is lower
– Can move a great resistance using a small applied force (large
torque production - “leverage”)
• Crowbar, wrench
– Large torque, sacrifice speed at the end of resistance arm

rock
DRA
DFA
Hard place (fulcrum)
crowbar
Mechanical Advantage
• Mechanical Advantage: DFA/DRA
• DFA < DRA
– Takes more applied force to move a resistance
– Resistance can be moved through a larger distance
– small torque, advantage--> speed at the end of resistance arm

dumbell
DRA
DFA
Typical DFA/DRA =
1/8
In most muscle/joint
systems!!!
Fro
Mechanical Advantage
• DFA/DRA = 1/8
• FR = 20 lbs
• Find: FRO for isometric contraction
• TR = Tm
• FR • DRA = Fro • DFA
• FRO = F • DRA/DFA
• FRO = 20 lbs • 8 = 160 lbs
dumbell
DRA
DFA
Fro
Note:
Since a usually < 90°,
then F
m
even greater
than 160 lbs!!!!
Why use 3rd Class Levers?
• Increased ROM over 2nd Class levers
• And 1st class where d
RA
> d
FA


• Increased velocity at the end of the limb

• Increased joint stability
2nd Class Levers and Skeletal Muscle
• Muscles have only a
limited ability to
shorten (≤40%); 2nd
class levers would
result in limited
shortening, reducing
tension, ROM. q
2nd class lever
Attach to wrist
Torque vs. Speed and Limb Length
• The longer the body
segment, the greater the
velocity at the end
• ( r)

• v = d/∆t
• d = AL = ∆qrad • r
• v = (∆qrad • r)/∆t
q
r
Torque vs. Speed and Limb Length
• r
• d = AL = ∆qrad • r
• v = d/∆t
• v = (∆qrad • r)/∆t

r2
axis
r1
3rd Class Levers and Stability
• static mechanics
• ST = 0
• SFy = 0

elbow
20 lbs
F
ro
= 160 lbs
T
R

T
m

T
m
+ T
R
= 0
3rd Class Levers and Stability
• static mechanics
• ST = 0
• SFy = 0

elbow
20 lbs
160 lbs
JRF = 140 lbs
160 + (-20) + x = 0
x = -140 lbs
Joint reaction force