JOURNAL ARTICLE

Relationship between the tibial mechanical axis and bony anatomical landmarks of the calf and foot as measured on radiographs obtained with a new laser-calibrated position

Peiheng He, Qi Zhu, Zhaohui Zhang, Xuenong Zou, Dongliang Xu
Journal of X-ray Science and Technology 2013, 21 (4): 497-506
24191987

OBJECTIVE: To investigate relationship between the tibial mechanical axis and bony landmarks of the calf and foot by developing a new laser-calibrated position for radiography of the lower limb.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: A total of 120 volunteers were randomly divided into two groups. All subjects were marked with skin projection of the hypothetical axis of the calf on the frontal and sagittal planes. Radiographs of weight-bearing full-length lower-limb were obtained by the laser-calibrated positioning in the experimental group, and by the use of conventional technique in the control group. To consider the rotation of the calf, radiological features of the knee and ankle were investigated. The relationship between the tibial mechanical axis and the bony landmarks of the calf and foot were also measured.

RESULTS: Anteroposterior view depicted a tangential projection on the superior/inferior tibiofibular syndesmosis and between lateral malleolus and talus in ankle mortise in the experimental group. Bony overlap on the superior/inferior tibiofibular syndesmosis and between lateral malleolus and talus was seen in control group. On the tangential projection, it also presented a clear wheel-like contour of the medial femoral condyle, but a partial overlap between medial femoral condyle and tibial plateau. The femoral joint angle between the connecting line at the lowest point of the medial and lateral femoral condyles and the tibial mechanical axis was 83.6° ± 2.49° in the experimental group and 85.3° ± 2.18° in the control group (P < 0.001). The tibial tubercle-axis distance from the center of the medial and middle one-third of the tibial tubercle to the tibial mechanical axis was 1.5 mm in the experimental group and 3.7 mm in the control group (P < 0.05). The malleoli-axis distance from the midpoint of the bimalleolar line joining the tips of the medial and lateral malleoli to the tibial mechanical axis was 1.9 mm in the experimental group and 6.9 mm in the control group (P < 0.001). Lateral view showed no difference between the tibial mechanical axis and the fibular reference line within two groups.

CONCLUSION: In the new radiographic position, our data indicate that the hypothetical tibial mechanical axis and fibular reference line, obtained by marking the specified anatomic landmarks of the calf and foot, are located more closely to the tibial mechanical axis by correcting the rotation of the calf and foot during the radiography. On anteroposterior view, the tibial mechanical axis was approximately 2 mm medial to the center of the ankle. This indicates that the hypothetical tibial mechanical axis marked on the skin could be referred to guide the tibial osteotomy in total knee arthroplasty.

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