The pivot shift test is a commonly used clinical examination by orthopedic surgeons to evaluate knee function following injury. However, the test can only be graded subjectively by the examiner. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to develop software for a computer tablet to quantify anterior translation of the lateral knee compartment during the pivot shift test. Based on the simple image analysis method, software for a computer tablet was developed with the following primary design constraint - the software should be easy to use in a clinical setting and it should not slow down an outpatient visit. Translation of the lateral compartment of the intact knee was 2.0 ± 0.2 mm and for the anterior cruciate ligament-deficient knee was 8.9 ± 0.9 mm (p < 0.001). Intra-tester (ICC range = 0.913 to 0.999) and inter-tester (ICC = 0.949) reliability were excellent for the repeatability assessments. Overall, the average percent error of measuring simulated translation of the lateral knee compartment with the tablet parallel to the monitor increased from 2.8% at 50 cm distance to 7.7% at 200 cm. Deviation from the parallel position of the tablet did not have a significant effect until a tablet angle of 45°. Average percent error during anterior translation of the lateral knee compartment of 6mm was 2.2% compared to 6.2% for 2 mm of translation. The software provides reliable, objective, and quantitative data on translation of the lateral knee compartment during the pivot shift test and meets the design constraints posed by the clinical setting.
Keywords: anterior cruciate ligament; kinematics; knee; pivot shift test.