Combined anatomic factors predicting risk of anterior cruciate ligament injury for males and females

Am J Sports Med. 2015 Apr;43(4):839-47. doi: 10.1177/0363546514563277. Epub 2015 Jan 12.

Abstract

Background: Knee joint geometry has been associated with risk of suffering an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury; however, few studies have utilized multivariate analysis to investigate how different aspects of knee joint geometry combine to influence ACL injury risk.

Hypotheses: Combinations of knee geometry measurements are more highly associated with the risk of suffering a noncontact ACL injury than individual measurements, and the most predictive combinations of measurements are different for males and females.

Study design: Case-control study; Level of evidence, 3.

Methods: A total of 88 first-time, noncontact, grade III ACL-injured subjects and 88 uninjured matched-control subjects were recruited, and magnetic resonance imaging data were acquired. The geometry of the tibial plateau subchondral bone, articular cartilage, and meniscus; geometry of the tibial spines; and size of the femoral intercondylar notch and ACL were measured. Multivariate conditional logistic regression was used to develop risk models for ACL injury in females and males separately.

Results: For females, the best fitting model included width of the femoral notch at its anterior outlet and the posterior-inferior-directed slope of the lateral compartment articular cartilage surface, where a millimeter decrease in notch width and a degree increase in slope were independently associated with a 50% and 32% increase in risk of ACL injury, respectively. For males, a model that included ACL volume and the lateral compartment posterior meniscus to subchondral bone wedge angle was most highly associated with risk of ACL injury, where a 0.1 cm3 decrease in ACL volume (approximately 8% of the mean value) and a degree decrease in meniscus wedge angle were independently associated with a 43% and 23% increase in risk, correspondingly.

Conclusion: Combinations of knee joint geometry measurements provided more information about the risk of noncontact ACL injury than individual measures, and the aspects of geometry that best explained the relationship between knee geometry and the risk of injury were different between males and females. Consequently, a female with both a decreased femoral notch width and an increased posterior-inferior-directed lateral compartment tibial articular cartilage slope combined or a male with a decreased ACL volume and decreased lateral compartment posterior meniscus angle were most at risk for sustaining an ACL injury.

Keywords: ACL injury; anatomy; risk factors; tibial geometry.

MeSH terms

  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries*
  • Cartilage, Articular / injuries
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Femur / anatomy & histology*
  • Humans
  • Knee Joint / anatomy & histology*
  • Knee Joint / pathology
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Factors
  • Tibia / anatomy & histology*
  • Tibial Meniscus Injuries