Two-dimensional methods have been applied to determine the Achilles tendon moment arm in previous studies, although the talocrural joint rotates in three-dimension. The purpose of this study was to develop a method for determining the Achilles tendon moment arm in three-dimensions (3DMA). A series of sagittal ankle images were obtained at ankle positions of -20°, -10° (dorsiflexed position), 0° (neutral position), +10°, +20°, and +30° (plantarflexed position). The talocrural joint axis was determined as the finite helical axis of the ankle joint over 20° of displacement, and the 3DMA was determined as the shortest distance from the talocrural joint axis to the line of action of the Achilles tendon force. The corresponding 2DMA was determined with the center of rotation method using the images captured on the sagittal plane passing through the mid-point of the medio-lateral width of the tibia. The 3DMA ranged from 35 to 41. mm across various ankle positions and was, on average, 11. mm smaller than 2DMA. The difference between the two measures was attributable primarily to the deviations of the talocrural joint axis from the anatomical medio-lateral direction. The deviations on the coronal plane (21.4±20.7°) and on the transverse planes (14.8±22.6°) accounted for the errors of 1.3. mm and 3.0. mm, respectively. In addition, selecting either a medially or laterally misaligned sagittal-plane image for determining the 2DMA gave rise to error by 3.5. mm. The remaining difference was accounted for by the random measurement error.
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