In Vivo Normal Knee Kinematics: Is Ethnicity or Gender an Influencing Factor?



In vivo studies have suggested Caucasians achieve lower average knee flexion than non-Western populations. Some previous studies have also suggested gender may influence condylar AP translation and axial rotation, while others report an absence of such an influence.


We determined whether different ethnic and gender groups residing in the United States had different knee translations and rotations.


Three-dimensional knee rotations and translations were determined for 72 healthy subjects (24 Caucasian men, 24 Caucasian women, 13 Japanese men, 11 Japanese women) from full extension to maximum flexion using a fluoroscopic technique, under in vivo, weightbearing conditions.


Although we observed substantial variability in all groups, small differences between groups were found, especially in deep flexion. Japanese women and men and Caucasian women achieved higher maximum flexion (153°, 151°, and 152°, respectively) than Caucasian men (146°). External rotation was higher for these three groups than for Caucasian men. The medial condyle remained more anterior for Caucasian women and all Japanese subjects than for Caucasian men, possibly leading to greater axial rotation and flexion, observed for these three groups.


We identified small differences in maximum flexion between genders and ethnic groups. While no differences were identified in the lateral condyle translation, the medial condyle remained more stationary and more anterior for the groups that achieved highest (and similar) maximum flexion. Therefore, it may be important for future implant designs to incorporate these characteristics, such that only the lateral condyle experiences greater posterior femoral rollback, while the medial condyle remains more stationary throughout flexion.

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We thank William Badger, Jason Horan, and Matthew Anderle for assistance with MR and fluoroscopic imaging.

Author information

Correspondence to Richard D. Komistek PhD.

Additional information

One or more of the authors (RDK, MRM, ALL) have received research grant from DePuy, Inc (Warsaw, IN). Each author certifies that he or she has no commercial associations (eg, consultancies, stock ownership, equity interest, patent/licensing arrangements, etc) that might pose a conflict of interest in connection with the submitted article.

Each author certifies that his or her institution approved the human protocol for this investigation, that all investigations were conducted in conformity with ethical principles of research, and that informed consent for participation in the study was obtained.

This work was performed at both the University of Rochester and the University of Tennessee.

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Leszko, F., Hovinga, K.R., Lerner, A.L. et al. In Vivo Normal Knee Kinematics: Is Ethnicity or Gender an Influencing Factor?. Clin Orthop Relat Res 469, 95–106 (2011) doi:10.1007/s11999-010-1517-z

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  • Knee Flexion
  • External Rotation
  • Femoral Condyle
  • Caucasian Woman
  • Lateral Condyle