Accurate in vivo quantification of subtalar joint kinematics can provide important information for the clinical evaluation of subtalar joint function; the analysis of outcome of surgical procedures of the hindfoot; and the design of a replacement subtalar joint prosthesis. The objective of the current study was to explore the potential of full weight-bearing clinical computed tomography (CT) to evaluate the helical axis and centre of rotation of the subtalar joint during inversion and eversion motion. A subject specific methodology was proposed for the definition of the subtalar joint motion combining three-dimensional (3D) weight-bearing imaging at different joint positions with digital volume correlation (DVC). The computed subtalar joint helical axis parameters showed consistency across all healthy subjects and in line with previous data under simulated loads. A sphere fitting approach was introduced for the computation of subtalar joint centre of rotation, which allows to demonstrate that this centre of rotation is located in the middle facet of the subtalar joint. Some translation along the helical axis was also observed, reflecting the elasticity of the soft-tissue restraints. This study showed a novel technique for non-invasive quantitative analysis of bone-to-bone motion under full weight-bearing of the hindfoot. Identifying different joint kinematics in patients with ligamentous laxity and instability, or in the presence of stiffness and arthritis, could help clinicians to define optimal patient-specific treatments.
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