In-vivo range of motion of the subtalar joint using computed tomography

Lijkele Beimers*, Gabriëlle J.M. Tuijthof, Leendert Blankevoort, Remmet Jonges, Mario Maas, C. Niek van Dijk

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

74 Citations (Scopus)


Understanding in vivo subtalar joint kinematics is important for evaluation of subtalar joint instability, the design of a subtalar prosthesis and for analysing surgical procedures of the ankle and hindfoot. No accurate data are available on the normal range of subtalar joint motion. The purpose of this study was to introduce a method that enables the quantification of the extremes of the range of motion of the subtalar joint in a loaded state using multidetector computed tomography (CT) imaging. In 20 subjects, an external load was applied to a footplate and forced the otherwise unconstrained foot in eight extreme positions. These extreme positions were foot dorsiflexion, plantarflexion, eversion, inversion and four extreme positions in between the before mentioned positions. CT images were acquired in a neutral foot position and each extreme position separately. After bone segmentation and contour matching of the CT data sets, the helical axes were determined for the motion of the calcaneus relative to the talus between four pairs of opposite extreme foot positions. The helical axis was represented in a coordinate system based on the geometric principal axes of the subjects' talus. The greatest relative motion between the calcaneus and the talus was calculated for foot motion from extreme eversion to extreme inversion (mean rotation about the helical axis of 37.3±5.9°, mean translation of 2.3±1.1 mm). A consistent pattern of range of subtalar joint motion was found for motion of the foot with a considerable eversion and inversion component.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1390-1397
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of biomechanics
Issue number7
Early online date10 Apr 2008
Publication statusPublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Computed tomography
  • Helical axis
  • Hindfoot
  • Kinematics
  • Subtalar joint


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