Distribution of MR-detected cartilage defects of the patellofemoral joint in chronic knee pain

Osteoarthritis Cartilage. 2003 Jul;11(7):494-8. doi: 10.1016/s1063-4584(03)00084-0.


Objectives: The aim of the study was to detect cartilage defects and determine the center of these defects in MR imaging of the patellofemoral joint (PFJ) in middle-aged people with chronic knee pain.

Design: In the format of a prospective study of early osteoarthritis (OA), this cross-sectional study of the signal knee (the most painful one at inclusion in the study in 1990) in 59 individuals, 30 women and 29 men (aged 41-58 years, mean 50 years) with chronic knee pain, with or without radiographically determined knee OA, was examined using MR imaging on a 1.0 T imager. Cartilage defects and the center of these defects in the PFJ were recorded.

Results: Cartilage defects were found more often in the patella (40 knees) than in the femoral trochlea (23 knees) (P<0.001) and were unevenly distributed in the patella (P<0.001), with most cartilage defects in the mid-patella.

Conclusions: Since cartilage defects occur more commonly in the mid-patella, radiographs obtained with a knee flexion of approximately 45 degrees may be more accurate to show cartilage defects of early OA of the PFJ than views with another knee flexion.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cartilage Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Knee Joint
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee / diagnosis*
  • Pain / diagnosis*
  • Prospective Studies