Quantitative assessment of postural alignment in young adults based on photographs of anterior, posterior, and lateral views

J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2011 Jul-Aug;34(6):371-80. doi: 10.1016/j.jmpt.2011.05.018. Epub 2011 Jul 18.


Objective: Postural assessment through photography is a simple method that allows the acquisition of quantitative values to define the alignment of body segments. The purpose of this study was to quantitatively assess the postural alignment of several body segments in standing through anterior, posterior, and lateral views.

Methods: In this cross-sectional study, 122 subjects were initially evaluated. Seven subjects were excluded from the study after cluster analysis. The final sample had 115 subjects, 75% women with a mean age of 26 ± 7 years. Photographs were taken from anterior, posterior, and lateral views after placement of markers on specific anatomical points. Photographs were analyzed using free Postural Analysis Software/Software of Postural Analysis (PAS/SAPO). Quantitative values for postural analysis variables were ascertained for head, upper and lower limbs, and trunk, along with the frequency of inclinations to the left and to the right.

Results: Regarding the head, 88% of the sample presented some inclination, 67% of which was to the right. There was a predominance of right inclination of the shoulder and pelvis in 68% and 43% of study subjects, respectively. Lower limbs presented mean alignment of 178° in the anterior view, and the trunk showed predominant right inclination in 66% of participants.

Conclusion: Small asymmetries were observed in anterior and posterior views. This study suggests that there is no symmetry in postural alignment and that small asymmetries represent the normative standard for posture in standing.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Anthropometry*
  • Cluster Analysis
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Evaluation Studies as Topic
  • Female
  • Head / anatomy & histology
  • Humans
  • Lower Extremity / anatomy & histology
  • Male
  • Photography / methods*
  • Postural Balance / physiology
  • Posture / physiology*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Sex Factors
  • Spinal Curvatures / diagnosis*
  • Upper Extremity / anatomy & histology
  • Young Adult