?Even a relatively small malalignment in normal knees can cause dramatic alterations in the pressures within the knee joint, and this negative effect can be greatly magnified if the cartilage within the knee has been damaged,? says researcher Dr Joseph Guettler, orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine fellow at Duke University. At the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine?s annual meeting in Orlando, FL, last month, Dr Guettler presented the results of a study of 8 human knee joints taken from cadavers.
Using special test equipment, the research team found that just 3? of malalignment can lead to serious cartilage deformation, more than doubling the pressures on the middle of the knee joint and increasing peak contact pressures by 68%. The study found that such small malalign-ments can lead to future trouble, which may include degenerative arthritis. The researchers urged doctors to closely monitor all young people who have reconstructive knee surgery to ensure that their leg bones stay properly aligned.