The 84th Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (2015)

Exploring the relationship between radiographic and osteologic measurements of the human os calcis


1Podiatric Medicine, Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates, 2Department of Anthropology, University of Washington, 3Department of Orthopaedics, University of Washington

March 27, 2015 , Archview Ballroom Add to calendar

Plain radiographs of the foot are a common form of examination in individuals when medical evaluation is indicated, because they provide information on bone morphology and angular relationships. Since plain radiographs are commonly performed, their availability makes them useful for studying human variation where large sample sizes are crucial. Calcaneal morphology is critical to understanding human foot form and function, but few studies have examined the accuracy of the measurements of the calcaneus taken from radiographs. If plain radiographs are to be used in quantitative analysis of the calcaneus, their accuracy must first be demonstrated.

For this study, fifty feet from amputated human limbs were collected, imaged in standard radiographic views, and skeletonized. Measurements that represented overall calcaneal length and height, and the height and breadth of the anterior process, were made on each skeletonized calcaneus and radiograph. The accuracy of the radiographic measurements was evaluated using paired Student’s t-test and correlation analysis. All measurements are different (all p ≥ 0.05), but the overall calcaneal skeletal measurements are correlated (all r > 0.80, all p < 0.001) with the radiographic measures. The anterior process height measures are also correlated (r = 0.56, p < 0.001), but the anterior process widths are not (r= 0.09, p=0.50).

Measurements that are taken from the radiographic views provide useful information about the bony morphology of the calcaneus, suggesting that radiographs of living individuals can be evaluated quantitatively, compared to osteology collections of modern humans, and used in the interpretation of the hominin fossil record.