In the field of joint kinematics, clinical terms such as internal-external, or medical-lateral, rotations are commonly used to express the rotation of a body segment about its own long axis. However, these terms are not defined in a strict mathematical sense. In this paper, a new mathematical definition of axial rotation is proposed and methods to calculate it from the measured Euler angles are given. The definition is based on the integration of the component of the angular velocity vector projected onto the long axis of the body segment. First, the absolute axial rotation of a body segment with respect to the stationary coordinate system is defined. This definition is then generalized to give the relative axial rotation of one body segment with respect to the other body segment where the two segments are moving in the three-dimensional space. The well-known Codman’s paradox is cited as an example to make clear the difference between the definition so far proposed by other researchers and the new one.

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