A joint coordinate system for the clinical description of three-dimensional motions: application to the knee

J Biomech Eng. 1983 May;105(2):136-44. doi: 10.1115/1.3138397.


The experimental study of joint kinematics in three dimensions requires the description and measurement of six motion components. An important aspect of any method of description is the ease with which it is communicated to those who use the data. This paper presents a joint coordinate system that provides a simple geometric description of the three-dimensional rotational and translational motion between two rigid bodies. The coordinate system is applied to the knee and related to the commonly used clinical terms for knee joint motion. A convenient characteristic of the coordinate system shared by spatial linkages is that large joint displacements are independent of the order in which the component translations and rotations occur.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Biomechanical Phenomena*
  • Humans
  • Knee Joint / physiology*
  • Mathematics
  • Movement*