The sulcus angle and malalignment of the extensor mechanism of the knee.
Davies AP., Costa ML., Shepstone L., Glasgow MM., Donell S.
Anterior knee pain due to dysplasia of the extensor mechanism is common. We have studied 137 knees (103 patients) in order to identify a rapid and reproducible radiological feature which would indicate the need for further analysis. Overall, 67 knees (49%) had at least one radiological abnormality; 70 (51%) were considered normal. There were five cases of Dejour type-3 dysplasia of the femoral trochlea, nine of type-2 and 12 of type-1. There were 49 cases of patella alta and five of patella infera. Four knees had an abnormal lateral patellofemoral angle (patellar tilt), and in 15 knees there was more than one abnormality. Classification of trochlear dysplasia was difficult and showed poor reproducibility. This was also true for the measurement of the lateral patellofemoral angle. Patellar height was more easily measured but took time. The sulcus angle is an easily and rapidly measurable feature which was reproducible and was closely related to other features of dysplasia of the extensor mechanism. The finding of a normal sulcus angle suggested that seeking other radiological evidence of malalignment of the extensor mechanism was unlikely to reveal additional useful information. The severity of other features of dysplasia of the extensor mechanism correlated with increasing sulcus angle.