Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research®

, Volume 468, Issue 4, pp 1107–1114 | Cite as

Posterior Displacement of the Tibia Increases in Deep Flexion of the Knee

  • Shingo Fukagawa
  • Shuichi Matsuda
  • Yasutaka Tashiro
  • Makoto Hashizume
  • Yukihide Iwamoto
Clinical Research



Deep knee flexion is important to proper function for some activities and in some cultures, although there are large posterior forces during high knee flexion. Most of what we know about posterior restraint and stability, however, has not been determined from deep flexion and without distinguishing motion in the medial and lateral compartments.


We therefore evaluated (1) the difference in posterior displacement between the medial and lateral compartments at a commonly used flexion angle of 90°; (2) that of deeply flexed knees at 135°; and (3) the difference in kinematics in the medial and lateral compartments. We analyzed posterior stability in 21 normal knees using interventional open magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) system.


When manual posterior stress was applied, the posterior displacements of the tibia were 0.6 mm/2.1 mm (medial/lateral) at 90° and 0.6 mm/3.6 mm at 135°. The posterior aspect of the femoral medial condyle moved 7.5 mm anteriorly with knee flexion, whereas the lateral condyle moved 1.3 mm anteriorly. The contact point of the lateral compartment moved 9.2 mm posteriorly with knee flexion, whereas the contact point of the medial compartment moved 2.3 mm anteriorly.


Posterior displacement was larger in the lateral compartment at both flexion angles with manual posterior stress. As the knees flexed from 90° to 135°, posterior displacement became larger in the lateral compartment.

Clinical Relevance

Cruciate-retaining total knee arthroplasty (TKA) or posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) reconstruction surgery should aim to achieve stability on the medial side and a few millimeters of laxity at the lateral side at 90° flexion with increasing laxity only on the lateral side in deep flexion.


Total Knee Arthroplasty Femoral Condyle Posterior Cruciate Ligament Tibial Plateau Flexion Angle 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We thank Sumako Nishimura and Takefumi Yasunaga (Hitachi Medical Corporation) for assistance in operating the MRI system. We are grateful to Dr. Junji Kishimoto (Digital Medicine Initiative, Kyushu University) for advice on the statistical analysis. We also thank Dr. Hiromasa Miura, Dr. Ken Okazaki, and Dr. Taka-aki Moro-oka (Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Graduate School of Medical Sciences, Kyushu University) for assistance with this study.


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Copyright information

© The Association of Bone and Joint Surgeons® 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shingo Fukagawa
    • 1
  • Shuichi Matsuda
    • 1
  • Yasutaka Tashiro
    • 1
    • 2
  • Makoto Hashizume
    • 2
  • Yukihide Iwamoto
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Graduate School of Medical SciencesKyushu UniversityFukuokaJapan
  2. 2.Department of Advanced Medicine and Innovative TechnologyKyushu University HospitalFukuokaJapan

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