“Foot pathologies or injuries and major morphological alterations are commonly investigated using radiological imaging. Planar X-ray, and CT images are assessed by the radiologist using standard clinical angles and comparing them to a reference healthy dataset. This type of assessment has several limitations: is operator-dependent; is based on 2D projections of the foot on different planes thus is affected by the foot orientation with respect to the x-ray detector; is slow and often does not account for physiological loading on the lower limb. The purpose of this study was to propose a semi-automatic method to assist radiologists and foot scientists in determining the three-dimensional orientation of each foot segment from CT scans of the foot. The proposed method is based on the Principal Component Analysis, a technique that can be used to estimate the orientation of a 3D object by using the coordinates of the points comprising its surface. Once the technique will be fully automatic, objective measurements of the orientation of each foot bone will be possible few minutes following the CT scanning of the foot. This will allow faster and more accurate diagnosis of foot pathologies or injuries.”

Paolo Caravaggi, Ph.D., Researcher, Movement Analysis Laboratory, IRCCS Istituto Ortopedico Rizzoli, Bologna (Italy)