Association between abnormal kinematics and degenerative change in knees of people with chronic anterior cruciate ligament deficiency: A magnetic resonance imaging study




Scarvell, Jennifer M
Smith, Paul
Refshauge, Kathryn M
Galloway, Howard R
Woods, Kevin

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Australian Physiotherapy Association


Progressive degeneration of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) deficient knee may be partly due to chondral trauma at the time of ACL rupture and repeat episodes of subluxation, but also due to aberrant kinematics altering the wear pattern at the tibiofemoral interface. The hypothesis that altered kinematics, represented by the tibiofemoral contact pattern, would be associated with articular cartilage degeneration in ACL-deficient knees was tested in a cross-sectional study of 23 subjects with a history of > 10 years ACL-deficiency without knee reconstruction. Subjects were aged 31 to 67 years. Eleven were male, 12 were female. Sagittal magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans enabled tibiofemoral contact mapping as subjects performed a closed-chain leg-press. Images were acquired at 15 degree intervals from 0 degrees to 90 degrees knee flexion. Articular cartilage degeneration was assessed by diagnostic MRI and where possible, arthroscopy. The ACL-deficient knees had a posterior tibiofemoral contact pattern on the tibial plateau compared to the healthy knees (F(1,171) = 9.2, p = 0.003). The difference appeared to be seen in the medial compartment (F(1,171) = 3.2, p = 0.07), though this failed to reach significance. Articular cartilage degeneration in the medial compartment was related to the variation of the tibiofemoral contact pattern (r = -0.53, p = 0.01). Articular cartilage degeneration was not related to time since injury (r = -0.16, p = 0.65). The association between aberrant kinematics and degenerative change may stimulate thinking on the role of dynamic stability and neuromuscular co-ordination in joint protection.



Keywords: adult; aged; anterior cruciate ligament; arthroscopy; article; articular cartilage; cartilage degeneration; clinical article; controlled study; disease association; disease duration; female; fibula; human; image processing; joint degeneration; kinematics; Anterior cruciate ligament; Chronic anterior ligament injury; Knee kinematics; Magnetic resonance imaging



Australian Journal of Physiotherapy


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