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Knee Surg Sports Traumatol Arthrosc. 2008 Feb;16(2):135-41. Epub 2007 Nov 14.

The influence of patellar bracing on patellar and knee load-distribution and kinematics: an experimental cadaver study.

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Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Hannover Medical School, Anna-Von-Borries-Str. 1-7, 30625, Hannover, Germany.


The aim of this study was to analyze the biomechanical consequences of patella bracing in order to evaluate possible mechanisms supporting its clinical application. The hypothesis is that the patellar bracing reduces patellofemoral pressure by influencing patellar and knee kinematics, and load distribution. Physiologic isokinetic knee extension motions were simulated on ten human knee cadaver specimens using a knee kinematic simulator. Joint kinematics were evaluated using an ultrasound-based motion analysis system and patellofemoral contact pressure was measured using a thin-film piezoresistive pressure measuring system. Infrapatellar tissue pressure was analyzed using a closed sensor-cell. Three different patella braces were fitted to the knee cadavers and their influence on the kinematic and kinetic biomechanical parameters were evaluated and compared to the physiologic situation. Patellar bracing resulted in a significant (p = 0.05) proximalization of the patella up to 3 mm. Depending on the type of brace used, a decrease in the infrapatellar fat pad pressure was found and the patellofemoral contact area was decreased significantly (p = 0.05) between 60 degrees of knee flexion and full extension (maximum 22%). Patella bracing significantly (p = 0.05) reduced the patellofemoral contact pressure an average of 10%, as well as the peak contact pressure which occurred. Patellar bracing significantly influences patella biomechanics in a reduction of the patellofemoral contact area and contact pressure as well as a decrease in the infrapatellar tissue pressure. The application of infrapatellar straps is suggested for the treatment and prevention of anterior knee pain, especially in high level sports.

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