The coupled motion of the femur and patella during in vivo weightbearing knee flexion.J Biomech Eng. 2007 Dec; 129(6):937-43.JB
The movement of the knee joint consists of a coupled motion between the tibiofemoral and patellofemoral articulations. This study measured the six degrees-of-freedom kinematics of the tibia, femur, and patella using dual-orthogonal fluoroscopy and magnetic resonance imaging. Ten normal knees from ten living subjects were investigated during weightbearing flexion from full extension to maximum flexion. The femoral and the patellar motions were measured relative to the tibia. The femur externally rotated by 12.9 deg and the patella tilted laterally by 16.3 deg during the full range of knee flexion. Knee flexion was strongly correlated with patellar flexion (R(2)=0.91), posterior femoral translation was strongly correlated to the posterior patellar translation (R(2)=0.87), and internal-external rotation of the femur was correlated to patellar tilt (R(2)=0.73) and medial-lateral patellar translation (R(2)=0.63). These data quantitatively indicate a kinematic coupling between the tibia, femur, and patella, and provide base line information on normal knee joint kinematics throughout the full range of weightbearing flexion. The data also suggest that the kinematic coupling of tibia, femur, and patella should be considered when investigating patellar pathologies and when developing surgical techniques to treat knee joint diseases.