Use of Anthropometry for the Measurement of Lower Extremity Alignment

  • Annegret Mündermann


The measurement of lower extremity alignment is an important component of the diagnosis and prognosis of musculoskeletal diseases. In addition, poor lower extremity alignment has been identified as a risk factor for incurring injuries during physical activities. Relating anthropometric information and limb alignment to joint loads during daily activities enables the identification of risk factors for musculoskeletal injuries and diseases. Lower extremity alignment can be assessed directly using medical imaging techniques or indirectly using established clinical measures. Palpation of anatomical landmarks and anthropometric information is currently used for many indirect methods assessing the alignment of the lower extremity. Current clinical methods for the measurement of lower extremity alignment include visual observation and methods using callipers, inclinometers or goniometers. A recent study showed the potential of using position capture similar to what is typically performed during gait analysis as an alternative method for the assessment of lower extremity alignment. Mechanical axis alignment assessed using this method correlated with radiographic measurements, the current gold standard, and with disease severity in patients with medial compartment knee osteoarthritis (OA). In addition, novel technology including functional joint center determination and markerless motion capture has a great potential in providing objective and thus reliable assessments of lower extremity alignment especially in populations that would not routinely undergo radiographic examination. Indirect assessment of lower extremity alignment can be challenging in obese patients and in the elderly. Establishing relationships between anthropometric information, limb alignment and detailed information measured using novel techniques is an important step in increasing the relevance of simple and quick clinical measurements for a larger range of sub-populations in health and disease.


Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injury Mechanical Axis Joint Center Anatomical Axis Knee Adduction Moment 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Anterior cruciate ligament


Anterior superior iliac spine


Intraclass correlation coefficient




Magnetic resonance imaging



The author would like to express her appreciation to Prof. Thomas Andriacchi and Chris Dyrby for their contribution to the study on measuring mechanical axis alignment using position capture.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Sport ScienceUniversität KonstanzKonstanzGermany

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