Journal article

Assessment of the lower limb soft tissue artefact at marker-cluster level with a high-density marker set during walking

The estimation of joint kinematics from skin markers is hindered by the soft tissue artefact (STA), a well-known phenomenon although not fully characterized. While most assessments of the STA have been performed based on the individual skin markers displacements, recent assessments were based on the marker-cluster geometrical transformations using, e.g., principal component or modal analysis. However, these marker-clusters were generally made of 4-6 markers and the current findings on the STA could have been biased by the limited number of skin makers analysed. The objective of the present study was therefore to confirm them with a high-density marker set, i.e. 40 markers placed on the segments. A larger number of modes than found in the literature was required to describe the STA. Nevertheless, translations and rotations of the marker-cluster remained the main STA modes, archetypally the translation along the proximal-distal and anterior-posterior axes for the shank and the translation along the proximal-distal axis and the rotation about the medial-lateral axis for the thigh. High correlations were also found between the knee flexion angle and the amplitude of these modes for the thigh whereas moderate ones were found for the shank. These findings support the current re-orientation of the STA compensation methods, from bone pose estimators which typically address the non-rigid components of the marker-cluster to kinematic-driven rigid-component STA models.


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