An inertial measurement unit based method to estimate hip and knee joint kinematics in team sport athletes on the field

Bram J.C. Bastiaansen*, Erik Wilmes, Michel S. Brink, Cornelis J. de Ruiter, Geert J.P. Savelsbergh, Annemarijn Steijlen, Kaspar M.B. Jansen, Frans C.T. van der Helm, Edwin A. Goedhart, Doris van der Laan, Riemer J.K. Vegter, Koen A.P.M. Lemmink

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Current athlete monitoring practice in team sports is mainly based on positional data measured by global positioning or local positioning systems. The disadvantage of these measurement systems is that they do not register lower extremity kinematics, which could be a useful measure for identifying injury-risk factors. Rapid development in sensor technology may overcome the limitations of the current measurement systems. With inertial measurement units (IMUs) securely fixed to body segments, sensor fusion algorithms and a biomechanical model, joint kinematics could be estimated. The main purpose of this article is to demonstrate a sensor setup for estimating hip and knee joint kinematics of team sport athletes in the field. Five male subjects (age 22.5 ± 2.1 years; body mass 77.0 ± 3.8 kg; height 184.3 ± 5.2 cm; training experience 15.3 ± 4.8 years) performed a maximal 30-meter linear sprint. Hip and knee joint angles and angular velocities were obtained by five IMUs placed on the pelvis, both thighs and both shanks. Hip angles ranged from 195° (± 8°) extension to 100.5° (± 8°) flexion and knee angles ranged from 168.6° (± 12°) minimal flexion and 62.8° (± 12°) maximal flexion. Furthermore, hip angular velocity ranged between 802.6 °·s-1 (± 192 °·s-1) and-674.9 °·s-1 (± 130 °·s-1). Knee angular velocity ranged between 1155.9 °·s-1 (± 200 °·s-1) and-1208.2 °·s-1 (± 264 °·s-1). The sensor setup has been validated and could provide additional information with regard to athlete monitoring in the field. This may help professionals in a daily sports setting to evaluate their training programs, aiming to reduce injury and optimize performance.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere60857
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Visualized Experiments
Issue number159
Early online date26 May 2020
Publication statusPublished - May 2020


The authors would like to thankfully acknowledge the funding sources provided by the Dutch national research organization (NWO). Furthermore, the authors would like to thankfully acknowledge the Dutch Royal Football Association (KNVB) for facilitating the research programme by giving access to their research facilities. Lastly, the authors would like to thankfully acknowledge Thijs Wiggers for his contribution to the research programme.

FundersFunder number
Dutch Royal Football Association
Dutch national research organization
Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek
Koninklijke Nederlandse Voetbalbond


    • Athletes
    • Behavior
    • Hockey
    • Inertial measurement units
    • Injury prevention
    • Issue 159
    • Kinematics
    • Lower extremity
    • Performance enhancement
    • Running
    • Smart textiles
    • Soccer


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