Methods for improved kinematic measurements of the lower extremities
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An understanding of knee dynamics is vital to treat neurological and musculoskeletal conditions that affect the lower extremities and achieve peak performance from athletes. To obtain and analyze kinematics and kinetics of the knee, clinicians and athletic trainers require accurate, accessible measurement devices. To assess the functionality of one such device, the Mizzou Knee Arthrometer Testing System (MKATS), dynamic motion studies were carried out on healthy, ACL deficient, and patellofemoral pain populations. To assess the validity of the MKATS, the device output was compared to data collected using a SimVitro robotic manipulator. Through this process, discussions with clinicians, technicians, and participants resulted in modifications to both the software and hardware of the device to improve fit and usability. The following thesis summarizes the findings of the dynamic and cadaver motion studies, and the modifications to the device. We found decreased flexion and internal rotation at specific points (p [less than] 0.05) of the cycle for all dynamic activities for both clinical groups compared to the healthy control group. Due to unperceived amounts of skin artifact and joint laxity, the results of the cadaver study were inconclusive. The MKATS was able to accurately detect kinematic differences in the live study groups and has promise as a useful tool for orthopedic surgeons, physical therapists, and athletic trainers to screen for abnormal dynamics and track treatment success. Further studies utilizing computed tomography on live participants will be needed to further validate the MKATS. The development of such devices is crucial to improve the quality of advice from healthcare and athletic performance specialists.