Segmental motion of forefoot and hindfoot as a diagnostic tool

Nori Okita, Steven A. Meyers, John H. Challis, Neil A. Sharkey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Segmental motions derived from non-invasive motion analysis are being used to investigate the intrinsic functional behavior of the foot and ankle in health and disease. The goal of this research was to examine the ability of a generic segmented model of the foot to capture and differentiate changes in internal skeletal kinematics due to neuromuscular disease and/or trauma. A robotic apparatus that reproduces the kinematics and kinetics of gait in cadaver lower extremities was employed to produce motion under normal and aberrant neuromuscular activation patterns of tibialis posterior and/or tibialis anterior. Stance phase simulations were conducted on 10 donor limbs while recording three-dimensional kinematic trajectories of (1) skin-mounted markers used clinically to construct segmented foot models, and (2) bone-mounted marker clusters to capture actual internal bone motion as the gold standard for comparison. The models constructed from external marker data were able to differentiate the kinematic behaviors elicited by different neuromuscular conditions in a manner similar to that using the bone-derived data. Measurable differences between internal and externally measured kinematics were small, variable and random across the three axes of rotation and neuromuscular conditions, with a tendency toward more differences noted during early and late stance. Albeit slightly different, three-dimensional motion profiles of the hindfoot and forefoot segments correlated well with internal skeletal motion under all neuromuscular conditions, thereby confirming the utility of measuring segmental motions as a valid means of clinical assessment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2578-2585
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Biomechanics
Issue number15
StatePublished - Oct 18 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biophysics
  • Rehabilitation
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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