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J Hum Kinet. 2012 Dec;35:15-25. doi: 10.2478/v10078-012-0075-8. Epub 2012 Dec 30.

The test-retest reliability of anatomical co-ordinate axes definition for the quantification of lower extremity kinematics during running.

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  • 1Division of Sport, Exercise and Nutritional Sciences, University of Central Lancashire.


Three-dimensional (3-D) kinematic analyses are used widely in both sport and clinical examinations. However, this procedure depends on reliable palpation of anatomical landmarks and mal-positioning of markers between sessions may result in improperly defined segment co-ordinate system axes which will produce in-consistent joint rotations. This had led some to question the efficacy of this technique. The aim of the current investigation was to assess the reliability of the anatomical frame definition when quantifying 3-D kinematics of the lower extremities during running. Ten participants completed five successful running trials at 4.0 m·s(-1) ± 5%. 3-D angular joint kinematics parameters from the hip, knee and ankle were collected using an eight camera motion analysis system. Two static calibration trials were captured. The first (test) was conducted prior to the running trials following which anatomical landmarks were removed. The second was obtained following completion of the running trials where anatomical landmarks were re-positioned (retest). Paired samples t-tests were used to compare 3-D kinematic parameters quantified using the two static trials, and intraclass correlations were employed to examine the similarities between the sagittal, coronal and transverse plane waveforms. The results indicate that no significant (p>0.05) differences were found between test and retest 3-D kinematic parameters and strong (R(2)≥0.87) correlations were observed between test and retest waveforms. Based on the results obtained from this investigation, it appears that the anatomical co-ordinate axes of the lower extremities can be defined reliably thus confirming the efficacy of studies using this technique.


Gait analysis; kinematics; motion analysis; repeatability; running

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