Rotational changes at the knee after ACL injury cause cartilage thinning

Clin Orthop Relat Res. 2006 Jan;442:39-44. doi: 10.1097/01.blo.0000197079.26600.09.


We examined the relationship between specific gait changes after anterior cruciate ligament injury and the progression of osteoarthritis at the knee. The study was done using a finite-element model derived from subject specific three-dimensional cartilage volumes created from magnetic resonance images. Cartilage thinning was predicted using an iterative algorithm based on the octahedral shear stress. Simulations were done for a knee with normal alignment and for a knee with an internal tibial rotation offset, as associated with anterior cruciate ligament deficiency. For the healthy knee, the model predicted patterns of cartilage thinning consistent with a previous clinical report of idiopathic osteoarthritis. For the ACL-deficient scenario the model predicted a more rapid rate of cartilage thinning throughout the knee, especially in the medial compartment. The results suggest that the progression of osteoarthritis after anterior cruciate ligament injury is associated with a shift in the normal load bearing regions of the knee joint during normal function due to kinematic changes, and highlight the importance of restoring proper gait during anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament / physiopathology*
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries*
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Cartilage, Articular / physiopathology*
  • Disease Progression
  • Finite Element Analysis
  • Gait / physiology
  • Humans
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee / physiopathology*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Rotation
  • Software