Proposal for a trigonometric method to evaluate the abduction angle of the lower limbs in neonates

Thaís Lima, Cyntia Alves, Carolina A R Funayama
Journal of Child Neurology 2008, 23 (12): 1451-4
It is difficult to precisely measure articular arc movement in newborns using a goniometer. This article proposes an objective method based on trigonometry for the evaluation of lower limb abduction. With the newborn aligned in the dorsal decubitus position, 2 points are marked at the level of the medial malleolus, one on the sagittal line and the other at the end of the abduction. Using the right-sided line between these 2 points and a line from the medial malleolus to the reference point at the anterior superior iliac spine or umbilical scar, an isosceles triangle is drawn, and half of the inferential abduction angle is obtained by calculating the sine. Twenty healthy full-term newborns comprise the study cohort. Intersubject and intrasubject variability among the abduction angle values (mean [SD], 37 degrees [4] degrees) is low. This method is advantageous because the measurement is precise and because the sine can be used without approximation.

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