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Osteoarthritis Cartilage. 2006 Sep;14(9):958-62. Epub 2006 Jun 6.

Static knee alignment and its association with radiographic knee osteoarthritis.

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  • 1Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, Monash University, Central and Eastern Clinical School, Alfred Hospital, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.



Although knee alignment is associated with the progression of knee osteoarthritis (OA), it is unclear which features that characterize radiographic OA are related to alignment. The aim of this study was to examine the relationship between static knee joint alignment (measured as a continuous variable) and the radiographic features of knee OA (joint space narrowing and osteophytes).


One hundred and twenty one adults with symptomatic knee OA were recruited using a combined strategy including referral from specialist centres, arthritis support groups and media advertising. X-rays were performed to classify the severity of disease and to determine static knee alignment.


Increasing varus knee alignment was associated with increasing risk of medial compartment joint space narrowing (P < 0.001) and osteophytes (P = 0.005). Increasing valgus knee alignment was associated with an increased risk for lateral compartment joint space narrowing (P < 0.001) and osteophytes (P = 0.002).


This study has demonstrated that the static knee angle, measured as a continuous variable, is an important determinant of the compartment-specific features of radiographic knee OA. Further work is required to determine whether interventions aimed at correcting these relatively minor levels of varus and valgus angulation will have an effect on the risk of tibiofemoral OA.

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