Soft tissue artifact assessment during treadmill walking in subjects with total knee arthroplasty
Accurate measurement of knee kinematics during functional activities suffers mainly from soft tissue artifact (STA): the combination of local surface deformations and rigid movement of markers relative to the underlying bone (also called rigid STA movement: RSTAM). The present study proposes to assess RSTAM on the thigh, shank and knee joint and to observe possible features between subjects. Nineteen subjects with knee arthroplasty were asked to walk on a treadmill while a bi-plane fluoroscopic system (X-rays) and a stereophotogrammetric system (skin markers) recorded their knee movement. The RSTAM was defined as the rigid movement of the cluster of skin markers relative to the prosthesis. The results showed that RSTAM amplitude represents approximately 80-100% of the STA. The vertical axis of the anatomical frame of the femur was influenced the most by RSTAM. Combined with tibial error, internal/external rotation angle and distraction-compression were the knee kinematics parameters most affected by RSTAM during the gait cycle, with average RMS values of 3.8° and 11.1mm. This study highlighted higher RSTAM during the swing phase particularly in the thigh segment and suggests new features for RSTAM such as the particular shape of some RSTAM waveforms and the absence of RSTAM in certain kinematics during the gait phases. The comparison of coefficient of multiple correlations showed some similarities of RSTAM between subjects, while some correlations were found with gait speed and BMI. These new insights could potentially allow the development of new methods of compensation to avoid STA.