The researchers found that measuring the distance between the tibial tubercle (TT) -- a bony bump on the tibia, commonly referred to as the shin, below the kneecap -- and the trochlear groove (TG), the joint in which the kneecap sits, using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) was a reliable, precise and accurate diagnostic of problems with the kneecap moving out of its joint.
John Vairo, clinical associate professor of kinesiology, orthopaedics and rehabilitation, said that ideally, a person's kneecap will align with the midline of the leg -- neither too far to the left or the right. A greater TT-TG distance may suggest that the kneecap is off center and therefore more likely to slip out of the joint.
Vairo - Study - Orthopaedics - Research - Clinicians
Vairo said the study -- recently published in Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research -- may help clinicians refine how they use the measurement in their practice.
"We found that once this measurement reaches 13 millimeters, that individual may be more likely to experience problems with kneecap dislocation," Vairo said. "That being said, it's also not the only thing that should be taken into account if a surgeon is considering more aggressive types of treatment like surgery to decrease this distance, which requires significant recovery time."
Researchers - Issues - Kneecap - Stability - Women
According to the researchers, issues with kneecap stability are common, especially among women or people who engage in sports. They said it may not pose an issue for people who are not physically active, but more aggressive treatment -- like surgery -- may be required for athletes.
Vairo said that while clinicians had been using TT-TG distance to predict kneecap instability previously, best practices were unclear. He said that computed tomography (CT) scans have been most commonly used in the past, but some studies have suggested that TT-TG distances were measured differently depending on if a CT or MRI scan was...
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