The patho-anatomy of patellofemoral subluxation.
Monk AP., Doll HA., Gibbons CLMH., Ostlere S., Beard DJ., Gill HS., Murray DW.
Patella subluxation assessed on dynamic MRI has previously been shown to be associated with anterior knee pain. In this MRI study of 60 patients we investigated the relationship between subluxation and multiple bony, cartilaginous and soft-tissue factors that might predispose to subluxation using discriminant function analysis. Patella engagement (% of patella cartilage overlapping with trochlea cartilage) had the strongest relationship with subluxation. Patellae with > 30% engagement tended not to sublux; those with < 30% tended to sublux. Other factors that were associated with subluxation included the tibial tubercle-trochlea notch distance, vastus medialis obliquus distance from patella, patella alta, and the bony and cartilaginous sulcus angles in the superior part of the trochlea. No relationship was found between subluxation and sulcus angles for cartilage and bone in the middle and lower part of the trochlea, cartilage thicknesses and Wiberg classification of the patella. This study indicates that patella engagement is a key factor associated with patellar subluxation. This suggests that in patients with anterior knee pain with subluxation, resistant to conservative management, surgery directed towards improving patella engagement should be considered. A clinical trial is necessary to test this hypothesis.