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2D digital photography for child body posture evaluation

Digital photogrammetry provides measurements of body angles or distances which allow quantitative posture assessment with or without the use of external markers and it is turning out to be an increasingly popular tool for the assessment of the musculoskeletal system. A study aimed to present to a structured method for the analysis of posture and its changes using standardized digital photography technique.

The individual settings of respective body parts, especially the spine and pelvis alignment in the sagittal plane, can tell the quality of body posture results. The gravity line is defined as the vertical line that passes through the center of gravity in the entire body and the reference posture is described by the relations between the gravity line and the body segments.

The center of mass is provided by the balanced arrangement of body parts and it enables the maintenance of horizontal gaze along with the muscle contraction and stretching without unnecessary loss of energy.

These diagnostic tools for measuring the sagittal spine curvatures and the pelvis alignment can be used to describe a correct posture while standing. The high variety  of methods and tools makes it difficult to standardize the assessment of posture.

A clear range between the traditional and faulty posture seems to be lacking – in particular, the number of quantitative posture parameters. The prevalence of faulty posture is very divergent and based on different diagnostic measures.

Digital photography technique for body posture

The postural photogrammetry revealed a simply smooth and briefly procedure. Photographic measurements using a simple digital camera or a mobile camera can be done considering the standardized conditions for the photographic evaluation.

“The tripod revealed a helpful device to stabilize the camera and control its position. The time needed for preparing the child for examination together with the time for taking photographic exposures in two sagittal projections was ca. 5 min, whereas the time required for calculation of five standardized sagittal parameters was ca. 3 min.”

The established procedure allows  the accurate and uniform filling of photographic documentation by physiotherapists and to obtain good quality research in line with the EBM rules. Its non-invasiveness allows the technique to be promoted in scientific and clinical research. Parents’ worries regarding the use of radiography are avoided.

This type of method can be significant for the budget savings of individual units that organize screening, which is often crucial in financing various types of research projects. Numerical values of the normal range for quantitative and validated parameters were presented in the paper.

Long story short

Even though both the surface topography and the radiological evaluation cannot be replaced with digital photography – the former for the 3D imaging and the last one for skeletal imaging – it offers a new additional value to human posture imaging.

Such large series of measurements in children result in a preparation of normal values and recently charts for age and sex, making it possible for the researchers to employ the photographic parameters in the diagnosis of child posture pathology, as well as to monitor the effects of corrective therapy.

Check the full study here.

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