Anatomical factors influencing patellar tracking in the unstable patellofemoral joint

Rahul Biyani, John J. Elias, Archana Saranathan, Hao Feng, Loredana M. Guseila, Melanie A. Morscher, Kerwyn C. Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


Purpose: The current study was performed to relate anatomical parameters to in vivo patellar tracking for pediatric patients with recurrent patellar instability.

Methods: Seven pediatric patients with recurrent patellar instability that failed conservative treatment were evaluated using computational reconstruction of in vivo patellofemoral function. Computational models were created from high-resolution MRI scans of the unloaded knee and lower-resolution scans during isometric knee extension at multiple flexion angles. Shape matching techniques were applied to replace the low-resolution models of the loaded knee with the high-resolution models. Patellar tracking was characterized by the bisect offset index (lateral shift) and lateral tilt. Anatomical parameters were characterized by the inclination of the lateral ridge of the trochlear groove, the tibial tuberosity–trochlear groove distance, the Insall–Salvati index and the Caton–Deschamps index. Stepwise multivariable linear regression analysis was used to relate patellar tracking to the anatomical parameters.

Results: The bisect offset index and lateral tilt were significantly correlated with the lateral trochlear inclination (p ≤ 0.002) and TT–TG distance (p < 0.05), but not the Insall–Salvati index or the Caton–Deschamps index. For both the bisect offset index and lateral tilt, the standardized beta coefficient, used to identify the best anatomical predictors of tracking, was larger for the lateral trochlear inclination than the TT–TG distance.

Conclusion: For this population, the strongest predictor of lateral maltracking that could lead to patellar instability was lateral trochlear inclination.

Level of evidence: Diagnostic study, Level II.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2334-2341
Number of pages8
JournalKnee Surgery, Sports Traumatology, Arthroscopy
Issue number10
StatePublished - Sep 1 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Patellar instability
  • Patellar tracking
  • Tibial tuberosity–trochlear groove distance
  • Trochlear dysplasia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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