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, 37 (6), 927-34

A New in Vivo Technique for Determination of 3D Kinematics and Contact Areas of the Patello-Femoral and Tibio-Femoral Joint

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A New in Vivo Technique for Determination of 3D Kinematics and Contact Areas of the Patello-Femoral and Tibio-Femoral Joint

R von Eisenhart-Rothe et al. J Biomech.

Abstract

Patello-femoral disorders are often caused by changes of patello-femoral and/or tibio-femoral kinematics. However, until now there has been no quantitative in vivo technique, that is able to obtain 3D kinematics and contact areas of all knee compartments simultaneously on a non-invasive basis. The aim of this study was therefore to develop and apply a technique which allows for determination of 3D kinematics and contact areas of the patello-femoral and tibio-femoral joint during different knee flexion angles and under neuromuscular activation patterns. One knee of each of the 10 healthy volunteers was examined in an open MR system under flexing isometric muscle activity at 30 degrees and 90 degrees. Three-dimensional kinematics and contact areas of the patello-femoral and tibio-femoral joints were analyzed by 3D image postprocessing. The reproducibility of the imaging technique yielded a coefficient of variation of 4.6% for patello-femoral, 4.7% for femoro-tibial displacement and 8.6% for contact areas. During knee flexion (30-90 degrees ), patella tilt (opened to medial) decreased (8.8+/-3.4 degrees vs. 4.6+/-3.1 degrees, p<0.05), while lateral patellar shift increased significantly (1.6+/-2.3mm vs. 3.4+/-3.0mm, p<0.05). Furthermore, a significant posterior translation and external rotation of the femur relative to the tibia was observed. Patello-femoral contact areas increased significantly in size (134+/-60mm(2) vs. 205+/-96 mm(2)) during knee flexion. This technique shows a high reproducibility and provides physiologic in vivo data of 3D kinematics and contact areas of the patello-femoral and the tibio-femoral joint during knee flexion. This allows for advanced in vivo diagnostics, and may help to improve therapy of patello-femoral disorders in the future.

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