Scientists from the University of Portsmouth (Great Britain) have for the first time been able to apply the technique of three-dimensional visualization of the joint work under full load in humans without interfering with the body. The method is non-invasive and does not require the use of any sensors. The subject of the study was the most complex part of the foot - the subtalar joint, which is often called the "steering wheel" of our body.
The subtalar joint is located below the ankle and consists of two bones: the calcaneus and the talus, connected by ligaments. It is responsible for limb movements, such as twisting the ankle, and for providing rigidity, for example, when running or pushing an object. Until now, scientists have not been able to consider and study the work of the joint in the standing position of a person, when the joint accounts for the entire weight of his body.
Visualization was achieved using computed tomography (CT) and "digital volume correlation", in which several images are combined to obtain a common set of models and their movement. For the first time, physicians were able to see the work of the joint in virtually real time and in all details. The technology has been tested on a number of volunteers and gave encouraging results - all defects and deviations are easy to detect, establish a relationship between them, identify problem areas and methods of influencing them.
Subtalar joint problems are traditionally underestimated, although for older people, an advanced case is similar in its degree of impact on the body with severe heart disease. There is no question of any quality of life with sore ankles and feet. Now there is a chance that doctors will be able to study the problem area in detail and select the best treatment options.