The effect of valgus/varus malalignment on load distribution in total knee replacements

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Orthopedics and Physical Rehabilitation

Publication Date


Document Type



Arthroplasty, Replacement, Knee; Cadaver; Equipment Failure Analysis; Humans; Knee Joint; Pressure; *Range of Motion, Articular; Reproducibility of Results; Sensitivity and Specificity; Stress, Mechanical; Treatment Outcome; *Weight-Bearing


Orthopedics | Rehabilitation and Therapy


Valgus or varus malpositioning of the tibial component of a total knee implant may cause increased propensity for loosening or implant wear and eventually may lead to revision surgery. The aim of this study was to determine the effect of valgus/varus malalignment on tibio-femoral mechanics during surgical trial reduction and simulated gait loading. In seven cadaver legs, posterior cruciate sparing total knee replacements were implanted and tibial inserts representing a neutral alignment and 3 degrees and 5 degrees varus and valgus alignments were sequentially inserted. Each knee with each insert was loaded in a manner representative of a trial reduction performed during knee surgery and loaded in a physiological knee simulator. Simulated gait performed on the simulator demonstrated that internal/external and adduction/abduction rotations showed statistical changes with some of the angled inserts at different points in the walking cycle. Neither medial/lateral nor anterior/posterior translations changed statistically during simulated walking. The pressure distribution and total load in the medial and lateral compartments of the tibial component changed significantly with as little as a 3 degrees variation in angulation when loaded in a manner representative of a trial reduction or with a knee simulator. These results support the need for precise surgical reconstruction of the mechanical axis of the knee and proper alignment of the tibial component. These results further demonstrate that tibial contact pressures measured during a trial reduction method may be predictive of contact mechanics at the higher loading seen in the knee simulator.

DOI of Published Version



J Biomech. 2005 Feb;38(2):349-55. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Journal of biomechanics

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID