Laboratory of Movement Analysis and Functional Evaluation of Prosthesis

The Movement Analysis Laboratory was established in 1989 as an independent research unit of the Rizzoli Orthopaedic Institute, with the purpose of performing quantitative instrumental analysis of human movement, in particular of the locomotor apparatus. The Laboratory, in close collaboration with the 1st Orthopaedic and Traumatologic Clinic and other Rizzoli clinical units, is specialized in gait analysis both in normal and pathological subjects, mostly in patients before and after surgery or following special rehabilitations programs.

Eng. Alberto Leardini, director of the laboratory, with some members of his team

A team of engineers, physiatrists and surgeons, works with a high-level of integration in a large number of movement-science projects and clinical studies, also by assisting and supervising the research activities of residents from the Faculty of Engineering, Medicine and Surgery, Specialization Schools in Orthopaedics, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, as well as students on the degree course for Podiatry, Orthopaedic Technicians and Physiotherapists. For many of the past and current projects, strong international collaborations have been established with renowned institutions, universities, and companies.

The Laboratory takes advantage of state-of-the-art instrumentation for the objective measurement of human motion, via stereophotogrammetry or Inertial Measurement Units (IMU), and of the internal and external forces generated through human movement, via force- and pressure-plates and EMG systems. These instruments allow accurate tracking of the kinematics and dynamics of the body segments, and of the relevant joints involved in the motor task under investigation.
The laboratory activities are focused on three main areas of interest:

The aspects of movement that are mainly developed during the Laboratory practice involve methodological research and basic biomechanics and clinical research. The Laboratory is actively working, therefore, both in the design and verification of experimental protocols standardized for gait analysis and clinical evaluations of orthopedic and neurological patients. These are sent to the Laboratory within the scope of clinical collaborations, research projects, or industrial commissions.

One of the main aims of the Movement Analysis Laboratory is to understand fully the reasons for the success or failure of orthopedic surgical operations or rehabilitation treatments. These reasons must be identified and distinguished in each type of implant, different surgical techniques, and also single patients. This is of great benefit to the improvement of the techniques currently used and the design of new ones. It is by now known that the real outcome of these operations have to be assessed on the patients, in vivo, after the implant, and in daily living activities, in addition to the standard in-vitro pre-implant tests.

The mission of the Laboratory of Movement Analysis and Functional-Clinical Evaluation of Prosthesis is achieved by the following two main general actions:

  • research-healthcare integration;
  • research-teaching integration.

Research-healthcare integration

The objectives that the laboratory aims to achieve are the following:

  • to be a reference centre for the functional evaluation of patients with diseases of the locomotor apparatus, for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes;
  • to identify clearly, even in the early phase of the clinical experimentation, the single numerical parameters best predicting a possible failure of the prosthetic implants. These parameters, to be monitored during the patient follow-up, can be based on in-vivo measurements of the patient via motion analysis techniques, or the result of advanced biomechanical analyses or computer model simulations;
  • to be a reference centre for the design and testing of movement analysis protocols, for these to be transferred and used in other clinical contexts both in orthopaedics and rehabilitation centres.

Research-teaching integration

The continuous interaction with medical and bioengineering students allows for a very strong synergy between research and teaching. The Laboratory is the ideal place for scientific studies and collaborations with public and private institutions, which support biomedical research according to known guidelines. The availability of highly specialized instruments, and the continuous interaction of the research team with national and international scientific communities, support the development of educational material which is of great communicative value for programmes in medicine, bioengineering and physiotherapy. 

Main research activities:

Keywords (general): biomechanics of locomotion, functional recovery, medical device, joint replacements, design - assessment – validation - efficacy, joint rotations and moments, patents, clinical studies, musculoskeletal models, computer model simulations, cloud-computing, orthopaedic surgery, flat foot, ageing, personalized treatments, sport/performance, bioengineering, physical rehabilitation, occupational medicine.

Content updated 04/05/2021 - 16:59
Content edited by: Ing. Alberto Leardini (
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