Digital filtering of three-dimensional lower extremity kinematics: an assessment

J Hum Kinet. 2013 Dec 31;39:25-36. doi: 10.2478/hukin-2013-0065. eCollection 2013 Dec 18.


Errors in kinematic data are referred to as noise and are an undesirable portion of any waveform. Noise is typically removed using a low-pass filter which removes the high frequency components of the signal. The selection of an optimal frequency cut-off is very important when processing kinematic information and a number of techniques exists for the determination of an optimal frequency cut-off. Despite the importance of cut-off frequency to the efficacy of kinematic analyses there is currently a paucity of research examining the influence of different cut-off frequencies on the resultant 3-D kinematic waveforms and discrete parameters. Twenty participants ran at 4.0 m•s-1 as lower extremity kinematics in the sagittal, coronal and transverse planes were measured using an eight camera motion analysis system. The data were filtered at a range of cut-off frequencies and the discrete kinematic parameters were examined using repeated measures ANOVA's. The similarity between the raw and filtered waveforms were examined using intra-class correlations. The results show that the cut-off frequency has a significant influence on the discrete kinematic measure across displacement and derivative information in all three planes of rotation. Furthermore, it was also revealed that as the cut-off frequency decreased the attenuation of the kinematic waveforms became more pronounced, particularly in the coronal and transverse planes at the second derivative. In conclusion, this investigation provides new information regarding the influence of digital filtering on lower extremity kinematics and re-emphasizes the importance of selecting the correct cut-off frequency.

Keywords: Low pass filter; gait analysis; kinematics.