A single measure of patellar kinematics is an inadequate surrogate marker for patterns of three-dimensional kinematics in healthy knees
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Patellofemoral disorders, such as osteoarthritis and patellofemoral pain, are thought to be associated with abnormal patellar kinematics. However, assessments of three-dimensional patellar kinematics are time consuming and expensive. The aim of this study was to determine whether a single static measure of three-dimensional patellar kinematics provides a surrogate marker for three-dimensional patellar kinematics over a range of flexion angles. We assessed three-dimensional patellar kinematics (flexion, tilt and spin; lateral, anterior and proximal translation) at sequential static angles through approximately 45 degrees of loaded knee flexion in 40 normal subjects using a validated, MRI-based method. The surrogate marker was defined as the static measure at 30 degrees of knee flexion and the pattern of kinematics was defined as the slope of the linear best fit line of each subject's kinematic data. A regression model was used to examine the relationship between the surrogate marker and pattern of kinematics. The surrogate marker predicted 26% of the variance in pattern of patellar flexion (p<0.001), 27% of the variance in pattern of patellar spin (p=0.003), 11% of the variance in pattern of proximal translation (p=0.037) and 39% of the variance in pattern of anterior translation (p<0.001). No relationships were seen between the surrogate marker and tilt or lateral translation. The results suggest that a single measure of patellar parameters at 30 degrees knee flexion is an inadequate surrogate marker of three-dimensional patellar kinematics; therefore, a complete assessment of patellar kinematics, over a range of knee flexion angles, is preferable to adequately assess patterns of patellar kinematics.
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