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. 2004 Mar;22(2):283-92.
doi: 10.1016/j.orthres.2003.08.015.

A Three-Dimensional MRI Analysis of Knee Kinematics

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A Three-Dimensional MRI Analysis of Knee Kinematics

Vikas V Patel et al. J Orthop Res. .
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Purpose: To quantify normal, in vivo tibio-femoral knee joint kinematics in multiple weight bearing positions using non-invasive, high-resolution MRI and discuss the potential of developing future kinematic methods to assess patients with abnormal joint pathologies.

Methods: Ten volunteers with clinically normal knees pushed inferiorly on the footplate of a weight bearing apparatus inside the MR scanner. The volunteers held the weight (133 N) for five scans as the knee motion was evaluated from 0 degrees to 60 degrees of flexion. Full extension was set as the zero point for all measured parameters. Using 3D reconstructions, tibia motion relative to the femur and flexion angle was measured as varus-valgus angle, axial rotation, anterior-posterior translation, and medial-lateral translation. Medial and lateral compartment tibio-femoral contact areas were examined and centroids of the contract areas were calculated.

Results: Tibial internal rotation averaged 4.8 degrees at 40 degrees of flexion and then decreased. Tibial valgus increased by 8 degrees at 60 degrees of flexion. Femoral roll back also increased to 18.5 mm average at 60 degrees of flexion, while the tibia translated medially 2.5 mm. Medial compartment femoro-tibial contact area started at 374 mm2 and decreased to 308 mm2 with flexion of 60 degrees, while lateral compartment contact area did not change significantly from 276 mm2.

Conclusions: Results correlate with previous studies of knee kinematics while providing greater three-dimensional detail. MR imaging allows excellent non-invasive evaluation of knee joint kinematics with weight bearing. This tool may potentially be used for assessing knee kinematics in patients with knee pathology.

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