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J Biomech. 2011 Sep 2;44(13):2446-52. doi: 10.1016/j.jbiomech.2011.06.025. Epub 2011 Jul 30.

Development of a statistical shape model of the patellofemoral joint for investigating relationships between shape and function.

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  • 1Computational Biomechanics Laboratory, University of Denver, Denver, CO 80208, USA.


Patellofemoral (PF)-related pathologies, including joint laxity, patellar maltracking, cartilage degradation and anterior knee pain, affect nearly 25% of the population. Researchers have investigated the influence of articular geometry on kinematics and contact mechanics in order to gain insight into the etiology of these conditions. The purpose of the current study was to create a three-dimensional statistical shape model of the PF joint and to characterize relationships between PF shape and function (kinematics and contact mechanics). A statistical shape model of the patellar and femoral articular surfaces and their relative alignment was developed from magnetic resonance images. Using 15 shape parameters, the model characterized 97% of the variation in the training set. The first three shape modes primarily described variation in size, patella alta-baja and depth of the sulcus groove. A previously verified finite element model was used to predict kinematics and contact mechanics for each subject. Combining the shape and joint mechanics data, a statistical shape-function model was developed that established quantitative relations of how changes in the shape of the PF joint influence mechanics. The predictive capability of the shape-function model was evaluated by comparing statistical model and finite element predictions, resulting in kinematic root mean square errors of less than 3° and 2.5 mm. The key results of the study are dually in the implementation of a novel approach linking statistical shape and finite element models and the relationships elucidated between PF articular geometry and mechanics.

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