Volume 5 Supplement 1

3rd Congress of the International Foot and Ankle Biomechanics Community

Open Access

Validation of a one degree-of-freedom spherical model for kinematics analysis of the human ankle joint

  • Nicola Sancisi1,
  • Vincenzo Parenti-Castelli1,
  • Benedetta Baldisserri1,
  • Claudio Belvedere2,
  • Matteo Romagnoli2,
  • Valentina D’Angeli2 and
  • Alberto Leardini2Email author
Journal of Foot and Ankle Research20125(Suppl 1):P13

DOI: 10.1186/1757-1146-5-S1-P13

Published: 10 April 2012

Background

During passive motion, the human tibiotalar (ankle) joint behaves as a single degree-of-freedom (1DOF) system [1, 2]. In these conditions, fibres within the ligaments remain nearly isometric throughout the flexion arc and articular surfaces nearly rigid. Relevant theoretical models are showing that the ligaments and the articular surfaces act together as mechanisms to control the passive joint kinematics [35]. Kinematic measurements and corresponding model predictions also revealed that the instantaneous screw axes of passive motion pass near to a single point, hereinafter called pivot point [5]. The present study investigates the extent to which this motion is spherical-like.

Materials and methods

A 1DOF Spherical Parallel Mechanism is analyzed, based both on joint anatomy and kinematics: the calcaneal-fibular and tibio-calcaneal ligaments are modelled as binary links of constant length, and relevant bones are connected by a spherical pair centred at the pivot point [5]. Geometrical data and reference motion were obtained from experiments in 5 amputated lower limbs, free from anatomical defects. Anatomical landmarks, articular surfaces and ligament origins and insertions were digitized. Passive dorsi-/plantar-flexion cycles were performed and relevant bone motion was recorded by a standard stereo-photogrammetric device. The pivot point was obtained by searching the point with the least mean squared distance from the instantaneous screw axes of passive motion. The closure equations were solved to obtain the simulated motion of the joints, to compare it with the original experimental motion.

Results

In all specimens, the model replicated passive motion with a very good precision (Figure 1).
Figure 1

The three displacements of a typical specimen, obtained from experiments (black), a previous model (red) and the spherical one (blue).

Conclusions

The passive motion of the ankle joints can be approximated well by a 1DOF spherical mechanism, despite the simple structure of this model. Replication of the original experimental motion can be a little worse than using previous mechanisms [4] (Figure 1), but computational costs, mechanical complexity and numerical instabilities are significantly reduced.

Authors’ Affiliations

(1)
Department of Mechanical Engineering-DIEM, University of Bologna
(2)
Movement Analysis Laboratory, Istituto Ortopedico Rizzoli

References

  1. O'Connor JJ, et al: Review: Diarthrodial Joints-Kinematic Pairs, Mechanisms or Flexible Structures?. Comput Methods Biomech Biomed Engin. 1998, 1: 123-150.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Leardini A, et al: Kinematics of the human ankle complex in passive flexion; a single degree of freedom system. J Biomech. 1999, 32: 111-118. 10.1016/S0021-9290(98)00157-2.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Leardini A, et al: A geometric model of the human ankle joint. J Biomech. 1999, 32: 585-591. 10.1016/S0021-9290(99)00022-6.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Franci R, et al: A new one-DOF fully parallel mechanism for modelling passive motion at the human tibiotalar joint. J Biomech. 2009, 42: 1403-1408. 10.1016/j.jbiomech.2009.04.024.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Franci R, Parenti-Castelli V: A one-degree-of-freedom spherical wrist for the modelling of passive motion of the human ankle joint. IAK 2008. 2008, Lima, 1-13.Google Scholar

Copyright

© Sancisi et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. 2012

This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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