The combined effect of frontal plane tibiofemoral knee angle and meniscectomy on the cartilage contact stresses and strains

Ann Biomed Eng. 2009 Nov;37(11):2360-72. doi: 10.1007/s10439-009-9781-3. Epub 2009 Aug 19.


Abnormal tibiofemoral alignment can create loading conditions at the knee that may lead to the initiation and progression of knee osteoarthritis (OA). The degenerative changes of the articular cartilage may occur earlier and with greater severity in individuals with abnormal frontal plane tibiofemoral alignment who undergo a partial or total meniscectomy. In this investigation, subject specific 3D finite element knee models were created from magnetic resonance images of two female subjects to study the combined effect of frontal plane tibiofemoral alignment and total and partial meniscectomy on the stress and strain at the knee cartilage. Different amounts of medial and lateral meniscectomies were modeled and subject specific loading conditions were determined from motion analysis and force platform data during single-leg support. The results showed that the maximum stresses and strains occurred on the medial tibial cartilage after medial meniscectomy but a greater percentage change in the contact stresses and strains occurred in the lateral cartilage after lateral meniscectomy for both subjects due to the resultant greater load bearing role of the lateral meniscus. The results indicate that individual's frontal plane knee alignment and their unique local force distribution between the cartilage and meniscus play an important role in the biomechanical effects of total and partial meniscectomy.

MeSH terms

  • Computer Simulation
  • Elastic Modulus
  • Female
  • Gait*
  • Humans
  • Knee Joint / physiopathology*
  • Menisci, Tibial / physiopathology*
  • Menisci, Tibial / surgery*
  • Models, Biological*
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee / physiopathology*
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee / surgery*
  • Range of Motion, Articular*
  • Stress, Mechanical
  • Young Adult