Model predictions of increased knee joint loading in regions of thinner articular cartilage after patellar tendon adhesion Academic Article uri icon


  • Patellar tendon adhesion is a complication from anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction that may affect patellofemoral and tibiofemoral biomechanics. A computational model was used to investigate the changes in knee joint mechanics due to patellar tendon adhesion under normal physiological loading during gait. The calculations showed that patellar tendon adhesion up to the level of the anterior tibial plateau led to patellar infera, increased patellar flexion, and increased anterior tibial translation. These kinematic changes were associated with increased patellar contact force, a distal shift in peak patellar contact pressure, a posterior shift in peak tibial contact pressure, and increased peak tangential contact sliding distance over one gait cycle (i.e., contact slip). Postadhesion, patellar and tibial contact locations corresponded to regions of thinner cartilage. The predicted distal shift in patellar contact was in contrast to other patellar infera studies. Average patellar and tibial cartilage pressure did not change significantly following patellar tendon adhesion; however, peak medial tibial pressure increased. These results suggest that changes in peak tibial cartilage pressure, contact slip, and the migration of contact to regions of thinner cartilage are associated with patellar tendon adhesion and may be responsible for initiating patellofemoral pain and knee joint structural damage observed following ACL reconstruction.


  • Fernandez, JW
  • Akbarshahi, M
  • Crossley, KM
  • Shelburne, KB
  • Pandy, MG

publication date

  • 2011