Three‐dimensional motion of the knee‐joint complex during normal walking revealed by mobile biplane x‐ray imaging Academic Article uri icon


  • Accurate knowledge of knee kinematics is important for a better understanding of normal joint function and for improving patient outcomes subsequent to joint reconstructive surgery. Limited information is available that accurately describes the relative movements of the bones at the knee in vivo, even for the most common of all activities: walking. We used a mobile X-ray imaging system to measure the three-dimensional motion of the entire knee-joint complex-femur, tibia, and patella-when humans walk over ground at their natural speeds. Data were recorded from 15 healthy individuals (9 males, 6 females; age 30.5 ± 6.2 years). The most pronounced rotational motion of the tibia was flexion-extension followed by internal-external rotation and abduction-adduction (peak-to-peak displacements: 70.7°, 9.2°, and 1.9°, respectively). Maximum anterior translation of the tibia was 6.5 mm and occurred in early swing, coinciding with peak knee flexion and peak internal rotation. The most prominent rotational motion of the patella was flexion-extension (peak-to-peak displacement: 50.5°). The tibia pivoted about the medial compartment of the tibiofemoral joint, conferring greater movements of the contact centers in the lateral compartment than the medial compartment (15.4 and 9.7 mm, respectively). Internal-external rotation, anterior-posterior translation and medial-lateral shift of the tibia as well as flexion-extension and anterior-posterior translation of the patella were each coupled to the knee flexion angle, as were movements of the contact centers at each joint. These fundamental data serve as a valuable resource for evaluating knee joint function in normal and pathological gait. The data are available in Supplementary_Material_Data.xlsx. © 2019 Orthopaedic Research Society. Published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Orthop Res.


  • Gray, Hans A
  • Guan, Shanyuanye
  • Thomeer, Lucas T
  • Schache, Anthony G
  • de Steiger, Richard
  • Pandy, Marcus G

publication date

  • 2019