The association between patellar alignment on magnetic resonance imaging and radiographic manifestations of knee osteoarthritis

Leonid Kalichman, Yuqing Zhang, Jingbo Niu, Joyce Goggins, Daniel Gale, Yanyan Zhu, David T. Felson, David J. Hunter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


The aim of our study was to evaluate the association between patellar alignment by using magnetic resonance imaging images and radiographic manifestations of patello-femoral osteoarthritis (OA). Subjects were recruited to participate in a natural history study of symptomatic knee OA. We examined the relation of patellar alignment in the sagittal plane (patellar length ratio (PLR)) and the transverse plane (sulcus angle (SA), lateral patellar tilt angle (LPTA), and bisect offset (BO)) to radiographic features of patello-femoral OA, namely joint space narrowing and patellar osteophytes, using a proportional odds logistic regression model while adjusting for age, sex, and bone mass index (BMI). The study sample consisted of 126 males (average age 68.0 years, BMI 31.2) and 87 females (average age 64.7 years, BMI 31.6), 75% of whom had tibiofemoral OA (a Kellgren-Lawrence score of 2 or more). PLR showed a statistically significant association with joint space narrowing and osteophytosis in the lateral compartment. SA showed significant association with medial joint space narrowing and with lateral and medial patellar osteophytosis. LPTA and BO showed significant association with both radiographic indices of the lateral compartment. Clear linear trends were found in association between PLR, LPTA and BO, and with outcomes associated with lateral patello-femoral OA. SA, LPTA, and BO showed linear trends of association with medial joint space narrowing. Results of our study clearly suggest the association between indices of patellar alignment and such features of patello-femoral OA as osteophytosis and joint space narrowing. Additional studies will be required to establish the normal and abnormal ranges of patellar alignment indices and their longitudinal relation to patello-femoral OA.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberR26
JournalArthritis Research and Therapy
StatePublished - 7 Mar 2007
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rheumatology
  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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