Reliability of functional and predictive methods to estimate the hip joint centre in human motion analysis in healthy adults.
In human motion analysis predictive or functional methods are used to estimate the location of the hip joint centre (HJC). It has been shown that the Harrington regression equations (HRE) and geometric sphere fit (GSF) method are the most accurate predictive and functional methods, respectively. To date, the comparative reliability of both approaches has not been assessed. The aims of this study were to (1) compare the reliability of the HRE and the GSF methods, (2) analyse the impact of the number of thigh markers used in the GSF method on the reliability, (3) evaluate how alterations to the movements that comprise the functional trials impact HJC estimations using the GSF method, and (4) assess the influence of the initial guess in the GSF method on the HJC estimation. Fourteen healthy adults were tested on two occasions using a three-dimensional motion capturing system. Skin surface marker positions were acquired while participants performed quite stance, perturbed and non-perturbed functional trials, and walking trials. Results showed that the HRE were more reliable in locating the HJC than the GSF method. However, comparison of inter-session hip kinematics during gait did not show any significant difference between the approaches. Different initial guesses in the GSF method did not result in significant differences in the final HJC location. The GSF method was sensitive to the functional trial performance and therefore it is important to standardize the functional trial performance to ensure a repeatable estimate of the HJC when using the GSF method.
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