Contribution of the Anconeus Muscle to the Elbow Kinematics: Range of Motion of 90° of Flexion-Extension and Pronation-Supination

  • Israel Miguel Andres

Student thesis: Phd


The anconeus, a small triangular muscle positioned on the posterolateral part of the elbow joint, has been the subject of considerable research without a satisfactory conclusion being reached regarding the role it plays during normal elbow kinematics. The aim of this investigation was to elucidate the function of the anconeus muscle and find the relative contribution that it makes to elbow kinematics by examining relative electrical muscle activity and elbow kinematics both before and after anconeus defunctioning carried out using a local anaesthetic (lidocaine). The study was performed through an examination of the myoelectric activity of the representative elbow flexor and extensor muscles (biceps brachii and triceps brachii) and the elbow kinematics and kinetics. Right-handed, healthy volunteers performed elbow flexion-extension and supination-pronation movements in both horizontal and sagittal planes before and after blocking of the anconeus. The kinematics and kinetics of the elbow were assessed using inertial sensors, and muscle electrical activity was recorded using surface electromyography. In the following stage of the study, the anconeus muscle was blocked through an injection of lidocaine and then the flexion-extension and pronation-supination movements were repeated. The relative electrical activity results from the anconeus before blocking clearly indicate that the activity of the muscle was higher during the extension portion of the flexion-extension cycle, suggesting that it behaves as an extensor muscle. However, from the paired sample t-test analysis, it was found that blocking of the anconeus had no effect on the kinematics and kinetics of the elbow, including the angular velocity, net torque, power and net joint work. Moreover, the angular velocity data for the elbow, before and after the blocking for all movements, showed a linear trend with slopes and Pearson's correlations close to unity, indicating no apparent difference on the elbow kinematics. In addition, the relative electrical activity of the biceps and triceps brachii muscles did not alter significantly following blocking of the anconeus. These findings suggest that the anconeus muscle is a relatively weak elbow extensor as it is likely that the small contribution that the anconeus provides during extension before blocking is compensated by the triceps brachii after the anconeus is deactivated.In order to provide additional weight and support to the findings of the experimental study, a computational model of the elbow joint was created in Abaqus CAE with the aim of investigating the contribution of the anconeus during the flexion-extension motion. In particular, the effect on the range of motion and contact area of the elbow joint was investigated both before and after anconeus blocking. The analysis was done in a range of motion of 90°, starting with the elbow extended 30° and ending flexed 120°. The elbow joint model considered cortical bone, trabecular bone, cartilage, collateral ligaments, the anconeus, biceps brachii and triceps brachii. The results of the investigation indicated that the anconeus muscle does not produce a significant change in the range of motion and contact area in the articulation, an outcome that supports the findings of the experimental investigation.
Date of Award1 Aug 2016
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorM.T. Alonso Rasgado (Supervisor) & Zhenmin Zou (Supervisor)


  • Anconeus muscle
  • Elbow joint
  • Kinematics
  • Kinetics
  • Electromyography

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