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BACKGROUND: Many different measures have been used to describe knee kinematics. This study investigated the changes of two measures, the patellar tendon angle and the patellar flexion angle, in response to variations in the geometry of the knee due to surgical technique or implant design. METHODS: A mathematical model was developed to calculate the equilibrium position of the extensor mechanism for a particular tibiofemoral position. Calculating the position of the extensor mechanism allowed for the determination of the patellar tendon angle and patellar flexion angle relationships to the knee flexion angle. The model was used to investigate the effect of anterior-posterior position of the femur, change in joint line, patellar thickness (overstuffing, understuffing), and patellar tendon length; these parameters were varied to determine the effect on the patellar tendon angle/knee flexion angle and patellar flexion angle/knee flexion angle relationships. RESULTS: The patellar tendon angle was a good indicator of anterior-posterior femoral position and change in patellar thickness, and the patellar flexion angle a good indicator of change in joint line, and patellar tendon length. CONCLUSIONS: The patellar tendon angle/knee flexion angle relationship was found to be an effective means of identifying abnormal kinematics post-knee arthroplasty. However, the use of both the patellar tendon angle and patellar flexion angle together provided a more informative overview of the sagittal plane kinematics of the knee.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





240 - 248


Arthroplasty, Kinematics, Knee, Modelling, Patellar flexion angle, Patellar tendon angle, TKA, TKR, Arthroplasty, Replacement, Knee, Biomechanical Phenomena, Humans, Knee Joint, Models, Theoretical, Patella, Patellar Ligament