When optical motion capture is used for motion analysis, reflective markers or a digitizer are typically used to record the location of anatomical landmarks identified through palpation. The landmarks are then used to construct anatomical coordinate systems. Failure to consistently identify landmarks through palpation over repeat tests creates artifacts in the kinematic waveforms. The purpose of this work was to improve intra- and inter-rater reliability in determining lower limb anatomical landmarks and the associated anatomical coordinate systems using a marker alignment device (MAD). The device aids the subject in recreating the same standing posture over multiple tests, and recreates the anatomical landmarks from previous static calibration trials. We tested three different raters who identified landmarks on eleven subjects. The subjects performed walking trials and their gait kinematics were analyzed with and without the device. Ankle kinematics were not improved by the device suggesting manual palpation over repeat visits is just as effective as the MAD. Intra-class correlation coefficients between gait kinematics registered to the reference static trial and registered to follow-up static trials with and without the device were improved between 1% and 33% when the device was used. Importantly, out-of-plane hip and knee kinematics showed the greatest improvements in repeatability. These results suggest that the device is well suited to reducing palpation artifact during repeat visits to the gait lab.

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