Tibial rotation influences anterior knee stability--a robot-aided in-vitro study

Clin Biomech (Bristol, Avon). 2016 Feb:32:131-7. doi: 10.1016/j.clinbiomech.2015.11.022. Epub 2015 Dec 5.


Background: Anterior cruciate ligament rupture can lead to symptomatic instability, especially during pivoting activities, which are often associated with increased anterior and rotational tibial loading. Therefore, the purpose of our robot-aided in-vitro study was to analyze the influence of tibial rotation on anterior knee stability under three anterior cruciate ligament conditions.

Methods: Ten human knee specimens were examined using a robotic system. Anterior tibial translations were measured during anterior force application at internally and externally rotated positions of the tibia (5° steps until 4 Nm was reached) at 20°, 60°, and 90° of flexion. The native knee was compared with the knee with deficient and replaced anterior cruciate ligament.

Findings: Tibial rotation significantly influenced anterior tibial translation (P<0.001), with differences of up to 12 mm between the largest and smallest anterior translation in the deficient knee. The largest influence of the anterior cruciate ligament on anterior translation was found in slightly externally rotated positions of the tibia (5°-10° at 20° of flexion; 0°-5° at 90° of flexion). Significantly increased anterior tibial translation (up to 7 mm) was measured after anterior cruciate ligament resection, which could be almost completely restored by the replacement (remaining difference<1mm) over a wide range of tibial rotations.

Interpretation: Tibial rotation clearly influences anterior tibial translation. Because the greatest effect of the anterior cruciate ligament was found in slightly externally rotated positions of the tibia, increased attention to tibial rotation should be paid when performing the Lachman and anterior drawer tests.

Keywords: ACL replacement; Anterior knee stability; Lachman test; Robot-aided in-vitro study; Tibial rotation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament / surgery*
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction / methods*
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Cadaver
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Knee / surgery
  • Knee Joint / physiology*
  • Knee Joint / surgery*
  • Middle Aged
  • Range of Motion, Articular*
  • Robotics*
  • Rotation
  • Tibia / physiology*
  • Tibia / surgery*