Quantitative measurement of patellofemoral joint stability: force-displacement behavior of the human patella in vitro.J Orthop Res. 2003 Sep; 21(5):780-6.JO
Patellofemoral joint instability is a common clinical problem. However, little quantitative data are available describing the stability characteristics of this joint. We measured the stability of the patella against both lateral and medial displacements across a range of knee flexion angles while the quadriceps were loaded physiologically. For eight fresh-frozen knee specimens a materials testing machine was used to displace the patella 10 mm laterally and 10 mm medially while measuring the required force, with 175 N quadriceps tension. The patella was connected via a ball-bearing patellar mounting 10 mm deep to the anterior surface to allow natural tilt and other rotations. Patellar force-displacement behavior was tested at flexion angles of 0 degrees, 10 degrees, 20 degrees, 30 degrees, 45 degrees, 60 degrees, and 90 degrees. Significant differences were found between the lateral and medial restraining forces at 10 mm displacement. For lateral displacement, the restraining force was least at 20 degrees of knee flexion (74 N at 10 mm displacement), rising to 125 N at 0 degrees and 90 degrees of knee flexion. The restraining force increased progressively with knee flexion for medial patellar displacement, from 147 N at 0 degrees to 238 N at 90 degrees. With quadriceps tension, the patella was more resistant to medial than lateral displacement. Our finding that lateral patellar displacement occurred at the lowest restraining force when the knee was flexed 20 degrees agrees with clinical experience of patellar instability.