Measurements of wrist and forearm positions and movements: effect of, and compensation for, goniometer crosstalk

J Electromyogr Kinesiol. 2004 Jun;14(3):355-67. doi: 10.1016/j.jelekin.2003.10.001.


Flexible biaxial goniometers are extensively used for measuring wrist positions and movements. However, they display an inherent crosstalk error. The aim was to evaluate the effect, of this error, on summary measures used for characterizing manual work. A goniometer and a torsiometer were combined into one device. An algorithm that effectively compensated for crosstalk was developed. Recordings from 25 women, performing five worktasks, were analyzed, both with and without compensation for crosstalk. The errors in the 10th, 50th and 90th percentiles of the flexion/extension distributions were small, on average <1 degrees. The ulnar/radial deviation distributions were weakly dependent on forearm position. The flexion/extension velocity measures were, for the 50th and 90th percentiles, as well as the mean velocity, consistently underestimated by, on average, 3.9%. For ulnar/radial deviation, the velocity errors were less consistent. Mean power frequency, which is a measure of repetitiveness, was insensitive (error <1%) to crosstalk. The forearm supination/pronation angular distributions were wider, and the velocities higher, than for the wrists. Considering wrist/hand exposure in epidemiologic studies, as well as for establishing and surveillance of exposure limits for prevention of work-related upper extremity musculoskeletal disorders, the crosstalk error can, when considering other errors and sources to variation, be disregarded.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms*
  • Artifacts
  • Diagnosis, Computer-Assisted / instrumentation
  • Diagnosis, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Equipment Failure Analysis
  • Female
  • Forearm / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Movement / physiology*
  • Physical Examination / instrumentation
  • Physical Examination / methods
  • Posture / physiology*
  • Range of Motion, Articular
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Task Performance and Analysis
  • Transducers
  • Wrist / physiology*