The various measurements of patellar tilting failed to isolate patellar tilting from the confounding effect of its neighboring bone rotation (femoral and tibial rotation) in people sustaining patellofemoral pain (PFPS). Abnormal motions of the tibia and the femur are believed to have an effect on patellofemoral mechanics and therefore PFPS. The current work is to explore the various effects of neighboring bone rotation on the various measurements of patellar tilting, through an axial computed tomography study, to help selecting a better parameter for patella tilting and implement a rationale for the necessary intervention at controlling the limb alignment in the therapeutic regime of PFPS.
Forty seven patients (90 knees), comprising of 34 females and 11 males, participated in this study. Forty five knees, from randomly selected sides of bilaterally painful knees and the painful knees of unilaterally painful knees, were enrolled into the study. From the axial CT images in the subject knees in extension with quadriceps relaxed, the measurements of femoral rotation, tibial rotation, femoral rotation relative to tibia, and 3 parameters for patella tilting were obtained and analyzed to explore the relationship between the different measurements of patella tilt angle and the measurements of its neighboring bone rotation (femoral, tibial rotation, and femoral rotation relative to tibia).
The effect of femoral, tibial rotation, and femoral rotation relative to tibia on patella tilting varied with the difference in the way of measuring the patella tilt angle. Patella tilt angle of Grelsamer increased with increase in femoral rotation, and tibial rotation. Patella tilt angle of Sasaki was stationary with change in femoral rotation, tibial rotation, or femoral rotation relative to tibia. While, modified patella tilt angle of Fulkerson decreased with increase in femoral rotation, tibial rotation, or femoral rotation relative to tibia.
The current study has demonstrated various effects of regional bony alignment on the different measurements of the patellar tilt. And the influence of bony malalignment on the patellar tilt might draw a clinical implication that patellar malalignment can not be treated, separately, independent of the related limb alignment. This clinical implication has to be verified by further works, with a comprehensive evaluation of the various treatments of patellar malalignment.