A new device for patellofemoral instrumented stress-testing provides good reliability and validity

Knee Surg Sports Traumatol Arthrosc. 2020 Feb;28(2):389-397. doi: 10.1007/s00167-019-05601-4. Epub 2019 Jun 28.


Purpose: To evaluate the reliability of an instrumented patellofemoral (PF) stress-testing-the Porto Patellofemoral Testing Device (PPTD)-and validate the instrumented assessment method comparing to manual physical examination.

Methods: Eight asymptomatic volunteers underwent bilateral PF-instrumented examination with the PPTD and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to assess intra-rater reliability of the instrumented assessment methodology. Six patients with unilateral PF instability underwent physical examination and PPTD concomitantly with MRI. Manual examination was performed by two blinded surgeons and compared with PPTD test. Ligament stiffness was calculated and compared between injured and non-injured lower limbs.

Results: PPTD showed a pre-determined and reproducible stress-force application with excellent intra-rater agreement (intra-class correlation coefficient 0.83-0.98). The manual exam was imprecise with variable examiner-dependent stress-force application. The PPTD resulted in greater lateral patellar translation (converted in quadrants) than manual exam for patients that have reached maximum translation force. Measurement of patellar position and displacement using PPTD was more accurate and precise than the visual estimation of translated quadrants by manual exam. Ligament stiffness curves showed no relevant changes in patellar displacement after 62 N.

Conclusion: The PPTD instrumented stress-testing is a valid device to quantify PF position and displacement with high intra-rater reliability, showing more accuracy, more precision and less variability than physical examination. This device provides an accurate and objective measure to quantify the patellar movement which can augment the physical examination procedures and assist clinicians in the management of decision-making and in the assessment of post-treatment outcomes of PF pathological conditions.

Keywords: Arthrometer; Laxity; Magnetic resonance imaging; Patellofemoral; Patellofemoral instability.

Publication types

  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Exercise Test / instrumentation*
  • Exercise Test / methods
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Joint Instability / diagnosis*
  • Joint Instability / diagnostic imaging
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Patellar Dislocation / diagnosis*
  • Patellar Dislocation / diagnostic imaging
  • Physical Examination / methods
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Young Adult