External torsion of the anterior tibial tubercle (TT), defined as external rotation around a craniocaudal axis with respect to the posterior femoral condylar plane, may induce patellar instability. To our knowledge no studies have focused on this parameter. The present study aimed to perform an MRI analysis of TT torsion. The study hypothesis was that TT torsion correlates with patellar instability and with 3 of its components: tibial tubercle-trochlear groove (TT-TG) distance, axial engagement index of the patella (AEI), and patellar tilt.
Material and methods
Four observers performed MRI measurements for 2 groups: 37 patellar instability patients (PI group) with history of at least 2 patellar dislocations, and 50 control patients with meniscal lesion but free from patellofemoral pathology. All measurements were taken from 2 axial slices with the posterior condylar plane as reference.
The intra-class correlation coefficient (ICC) was 0.88. TT torsion correlated with patellar instability, with a mean 5.8̊ in controls and 17.9̊ in the PI group (P<0.001). There were also excellent correlations between TT torsion and TT-TG distance, patellar tilt and patellar lateralization (measured by AEI), with correlation coefficients greater than 0.85.
TT torsion is a reproducible measurement, with excellent ICC. It is significantly correlated with patellar instability, with a discrimination threshold of 11.5̊, and correlations with all 3 components of instability. These statistical correlations enable TT torsion to be added to the list of patellar instability factors. Further studies should determine its biomechanical role and assess the contribution of associating TT derotation to medialization or distalization procedures.
Level of evidence
III; case-control study.Le texte complet de cet article est disponible en PDF.
Keywords : Patellar instability, Patellar dislocation, Tibial tubercle position, Tibial tubercle torsion, Tibial tubercle-trochlear groove distance