Accurate location of the axis of ankle rotation is critical to in vivo estimates of Achilles tendon moment arm. Here we investigated how the plantarflexion moment arm of the Achilles tendon is affected by using an instantaneous helical axis that moves with ankle motion as opposed to a single fixed joint axis that approximates the average axis of rotation. Twenty young healthy adults performed a series of weightbearing cyclical plantar- and dorsi-flexion motions. Motion analysis tracked the motions of markers placed on the foot and shank and also tracked an ultrasound probe imaging the Achilles tendon. Differences in ATma between the methods were investigated using a two-way repeated-measures ANOVA with factors of joint angle (+5°, 0°, −5°, −10°, −15°) and method (instantaneous helical axes, fixed axis). Moment arms computed between the two methods were moderately to strongly correlated, especially in the mid-range of motion (for 0° to 10° plantarflexion, all r2 > 0.619 and all p < 0.004). The two methods produced Achilles tendon moment arms that were comparable and not significantly different except in the most dorsiflexed position, when they differed on average by 9.35 ± 3.23 mm (p = 0.001). Our results suggest that either approach for locating the axis of ankle rotation would be appropriate for the purpose of estimating ATma, but that a fixed axis may be preferable because it is applicable over a greater range of ankle motion.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
- Biomedical Engineering