Femoral and tibial component rotation in total knee arthroplasty: methods and consequences

Bone Joint J. 2013 Nov;95-B(11 Suppl A):140-3. doi: 10.1302/0301-620X.95B11.32765.


At least four ways have been described to determine femoral component rotation, and three ways to determine tibial component rotation in total knee replacement (TKR). Each method has its advocates and each has an influence on knee kinematics and the ultimate short and long term success of TKR. Of the four femoral component methods, the author prefers rotating the femoral component in flexion to that amount that establishes a stable symmetrical flexion gap. This judgement is made after the soft tissues of the knee have been balanced in extension. Of the three tibial component methods, the author prefers rotating the tibial component into congruency with the established femoral component rotation with the knee is in extension. This yields a rotationally congruent articulation during weight-bearing and should minimise the torsional forces being transferred through a conforming tibial insert, which could lead to wear to the underside of the tibial polyethylene. Rotating platform components will compensate for any mal-rotation, but can still lead to pain if excessive tibial insert rotation causes soft-tissue impingement.

Keywords: Femoral rotation; gap balancing; posterior condylar axis; tibial rotation; trans-epicondylar axis; trans-sulcus axis.

MeSH terms

  • Arthroplasty, Replacement, Knee / methods*
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Femur / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Knee Prosthesis*
  • Polyethylene
  • Prosthesis Design
  • Rotation
  • Tibia / surgery*
  • Torque
  • Weight-Bearing


  • Polyethylene