Three-dimensional patellar motion at the natural knee during passive flexion/extension. An in vitro study.J Orthop Res. 2009 Nov; 27(11):1426-31.JO
Patellar maltracking may result in many patellofemoral joint (PFJ) disorders in the natural and replaced knee. The literature providing quantitative reference for normal PFJ kinematics according to which patellar maltracking could be identified is still limited. The aim of this study was to measure in vitro accurately all six-degrees-of-freedom of patellar motion with respect to the femur and tibia on 20 normal specimens. A state-of-the-art knee navigation system, suitably adapted for this study aim, was used. Anatomical reference frames were defined for the femur, tibia, and patella according to international recommendations. PFJ flexion, tilt, rotation, and translations were calculated in addition to standard tibiofemoral joint (TFJ) kinematics. All motion patterns were found to be generally repeatable intra-/interspecimens. PFJ flexion was 62% of the corresponding TFJ flexion range; tilt and translations along femoral mediolateral and tibial proximodistal axes during TFJ flexion were found with medial, lateral, and distal trends and within 12 degrees , 6 and 9 mm, respectively. No clear pattern for PFJ rotation was observed. These results concur with comparable reports from the literature and contribute to the controversial knowledge on normal PFJ kinematics. Their consistence provides fundamental information to understand orthopedic treatment of the knee and for possible relevant measurements intraoperatively.