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J Biomech. 2000 Aug;33(8):1029-34.

Measurement of the screw-home motion of the knee is sensitive to errors in axis alignment.

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Center for Locomotion Studies, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802, USA.


Measurements of joint angles during motion analysis are subject to error caused by kinematic crosstalk, that is, one joint rotation (e. g., flexion) being interpreted as another (e.g., abduction). Kinematic crosstalk results from the chosen joint coordinate system being misaligned with the axes about which rotations are assumed to occur. The aim of this paper is to demonstrate that measurement of the so-called "screw-home" motion of the human knee, in which axial rotation and extension are coupled, is especially prone to errors due to crosstalk. The motions of two different two-segment mechanical linkages were examined to study the effects of crosstalk. The segments of the first linkage (NSH) were connected by a revolute joint, but the second linkage (SH) incorporated gearing that caused 15 degrees of screw-home rotation to occur with 90 degrees knee flexion. It was found that rotating the flexion axis (inducing crosstalk) could make linkage NSH appear to exhibit a screw-home motion and that a different rotation of the flexion axis could make linkage SH apparently exhibit pure flexion. These findings suggest that the measurement of screw-home rotation may be strongly influenced by errors in the location of the flexion axis. The magnitudes of these displacements of the flexion axis were consistent with the inter-observer variability seen when five experienced observers defined the flexion axis by palpating the medial and lateral femoral epicondyles. Care should be taken when interpreting small internal-external rotations and abduction-adduction angles to ensure that they are not the products of kinematic crosstalk.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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