Background: Accurate measurements of knee and hip motion are required for management of musculoskeletal pathology. The purpose of this investigation was to compare three techniques for measuring motion at the hip and knee. The authors hypothesized that digital photography would be equivalent in accuracy and show higher precision compared to the other two techniques. Methods: Using infrared motion capture analysis as the reference standard, hip flexion/abduction/internal rotation/external rotation and knee flexion/extension were measured using visual estimation, goniometry, and photography on 10 fresh frozen cadavers. These measurements were performed by three physical therapists and three orthopaedic surgeons. Accuracy was defined by the difference from the reference standard, while precision was defined by the proportion of measurements within either 5° or 10°. Analysis of variance (ANOVA), t-tests, and chi-squared tests were used. Results: Although two statistically significant differences were found in measurement accuracy between the three techniques, neither of these differences met clinical significance (difference of 1.4° for hip abduction and 1.7° for the knee extension). Precision of measurements was significantly higher for digital photography than: (i) visual estimation for hip abduction and knee extension, and (ii) goniometry for knee extension only. Conclusions: There was no clinically significant difference in measurement accuracy between the three techniques for hip and knee motion. Digital photography only showed higher precision for two joint motions (hip abduction and knee extension). Overall digital photography shows equivalent accuracy and near-equivalent precision to visual estimation and goniometry.
- Digital photography
- Range of motion
- Visual estimation
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine