The effects of the sagittal plane malpositioning of the patella and concomitant quadriceps hypotrophy on the patellofemoral joint: a finite element analysis
Aktekin, Cem N.
Yüksel, H. Yalçın
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Anterior knee pain is a common symptom after intramedullary nailing in tibia shaft fracture. Moreover, patellofemoral malalignment is also known to be a major reason for anterior knee pain. Patellofemoral malalignment predisposes to increased loading in patellar cartilage. In the previous study, we have demonstrated the quadriceps atrophy and patellofemoral malalignment after intramedullary nailing due to tibia shaft fracture. In this study, our aim was to clarify the effects of quadriceps atrophy and patellofemoral malalignment with the pathologic loading on the joint cartilage. Mesh models of patellofemoral joint were constructed with CT images and integrated with soft tissue components such as menisci and ligaments. Physiological and sagittal tilt models during extension and flexion at 15A degrees, 30A degrees and 60A degrees were created generating eight models. All the models were applied with 137 N force to present the effects of normal loading and 115.7 N force for the simulation of quadriceps atrophy. Different degrees of loading were applied to evaluate the joint contact area and pressure value with the finite element analysis. There was increased patellofemoral contact area in patellar tilt models with respect to normal models. The similar loading patterns were diagnosed in all models at 0A degrees and 15A degrees knee flexion when 137 N force was applied. Higher loading values were obtained at 30A degrees and 60A degrees knee flexions in sagittal tilt models. Furthermore, in the sagittal tilt models, in which the quadriceps atrophy was simulated, the loadings at 30A degrees and 60A degrees knee flexion were higher than in the physiological ones. Sagittal malalignment of the patellofemoral joint is a new concept that results in different loading patterns in the patellofemoral joint biomechanics. This malalignment in sagittal plane leads to increased loading values on the patellofemoral joint at 30A degrees and 60A degrees of the knee flexions. This new concept should be kept in mind during the course of diagnosis and treatment in patients with anterior knee pain. Definition of the exact biomechanical effects of the sagittal tilting will lead to the development of new treatment modalities.