A comparison of radiographic anatomic axis knee alignment measurements and cross-sectional associations with knee osteoarthritis

L. M. Goulston, M. T. Sanchez-Santos, S. D'Angelo, K. M. Leyland, D. J. Hart, T. D. Spector, C. Cooper, E. M. Dennison, D. Hunter, Nigel K Arden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: Malalignment is associated with knee osteoarthritis (KOA), however, the optimal anatomic axis (AA) knee alignment measurement on a standard limb radiograph (SLR) is unknown. This study compares one-point (1P) and two-point (2P) AA methods using three knee joint centre locations and examines cross-sectional associations with symptomatic radiographic knee osteoarthritis (SRKOA), radiographic knee osteoarthritis (RKOA) and knee pain. Methods: AA alignment was measured six different ways using the KneeMorf software on 1058 SLRs from 584 women in the Chingford Study. Cross-sectional associations with principal outcome SRKOA combined with greatest reproducibility determined the optimal 1P and 2P AA method. Appropriate varus/neutral/valgus alignment categories were established using logistic regression with generalised estimating equation models fitted with restricted cubic spline function. Results: The tibial plateau centre displayed greatest reproducibility and associations with SRKOA. As mean 1P and 2P values differed by >2°, new alignment categories were generated for 1P: varus <178°, neutral 178-182°, valgus >182° and for 2P methods: varus <180°, neutral 180-185°, valgus >185°. Varus vs neutral alignment was associated with a near 2-fold increase in SRKOA and RKOA, and valgus vs neutral for RKOA using 2P method. Nonsignificant associations were seen for 1P method for SRKOA, RKOA and knee pain. Conclusions: AA alignment was associated with SRKOA and the tibial plateau centre had the strongest association. Differences in AA alignment when 1P vs 2P methods were compared indicated bespoke alignment categories were necessary. Further replication and validation with mechanical axis alignment comparison is required.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)612-622
Number of pages11
JournalOsteoarthritis and Cartilage
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2016


  • Anatomic axis
  • Knee alignment
  • Knee osteoarthritis
  • Radiography


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