The influence of soft tissue artifacts on multi-segment foot kinematics

Wouter Schallig, Geert J Streekstra, Chantal M Hulshof, Roeland P Kleipool, Johannes G G Dobbe, Mario Maas, Jaap Harlaar, Marjolein M van der Krogt, Josien C van den Noort

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Movement of skin markers with respect to their underlying bone (i.e. soft tissue artifacts (STAs)) might corrupt the accuracy of marker-based movement analyses. This study aims to quantify STAs in 3D for foot markers and their effect on multi-segment foot kinematics as calculated by the Oxford and Rizzoli Foot Models (OFM, RFM). Fifteen subjects with asymptomatic feet were seated on a custom-made loading device on a computed tomography (CT) table, with a combined OFM and RFM marker set on their right foot. One unloaded reference CT-scan with neutral foot position was performed, followed by 9 loaded CT-scans at different foot positions. The 3D-displacement (i.e. STA) of each marker in the underlying bone coordinate system between the reference scan and other scans was calculated. Subsequently, segment orientations and joint angles were calculated from the marker positions according to OFM and RFM definitions with and without STAs. The differences in degrees were defined as the errors caused by the marker displacements. Markers on the lateral malleolus and proximally on the posterior aspect of the calcaneus showed the largest STAs. The hindfoot-shank joint angle was most affected by STAs in the most extreme foot position (40° plantar flexion) in the sagittal plane for RFM (mean: 6.7°, max: 11.8°) and the transverse plane for OFM (mean: 3.9°, max: 6.8°). This study showed that STAs introduce clinically relevant errors in multi-segment foot kinematics. Moreover, it identified marker locations that are most affected by STAs, suggesting that their use within multi-segment foot models should be reconsidered.

Original languageEnglish
Article number110359
Pages (from-to)110359
JournalJournal of Biomechanics
Early online date6 Mar 2021
Publication statusPublished - 7 May 2021

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