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Foot Ankle Int. 2006 Mar;27(3):175-80.

Radiographic angles in hallux valgus: differences between measurements made manually and with a computerized program.

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  • 1Centro Medico Teknon, Barcelona, Spain.



The objective of this study was to compare angular measurements in the evaluation of hallux valgus deformities using a goniometer and a computerized program to assess degree of concordance between the two methods and determine the reliability of manual measurements.


Angles measured included the hallux valgus angle (HVA), the intermetatarsal angle (IMA), the distal metatarsal articular angle (DMAA), and the proximal phalangeal articular angle (PPAA), also called the hallux valgus interphalangeus angle or interphalangeal angle. Measurements were made on preoperative weightbearing radiographs in 176 patients with symptomatic hallux valgus. Manual measurements were made with a goniometer by an orthopaedic surgeon. An independent experienced technician used digitized images to perform angular measurements with the Autocad software program (Autodesk Inc., San Rafael, CA).


HVA values obtained with the two techniques were similar. However, significantly higher mean values were obtained with the Autocad for the IMA and PPAA measurements, and higher mean values were obtained for the DMAA measurement with the manual technique. Whereas differences were more or less randomly distributed for the HVA, in the remaining patients, measurements were clearly related to the measurement technique, i.e., for the DMAA, the manual technique had a tendency to show higher values, and for the IMA and PPAA the manual technique showed lower values than the computer. Correlations between both techniques for the different angular measurements were as follows: HVA, -0.179 (p = 0.018); DMMA, -0.294 (p < 0.001); PPAA, -0.876 (p < 0.001); and IMA, -0.661 (p < 0.001). The intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) showed that the concordance between manual and Autocad angular measurements was excellent for the HVA (ICC = 0.89) and DMAA (ICC = 0.80) and very poor for the PPAA (ICC = 0.11) and IMA (ICC = 0.42).


Angular measurements made on weightbearing radiographs with the Autocad in patients with hallux valgus deformities were more reliable than those made with a goniometer. Although for large angles, such as HVA and DMAA, results obtained with both measurement techniques were similar. Manual measurements, however, may underestimate the true values of the smaller IMA and PPAA angles.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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