Measurement of patella height and advance of patella alta

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With the development of sports medicine and research of patellofemoral disorder, patella alta has been paid increasing attention as the exact pathogenesis of patellofemoral disorder. There are many radiographic measurement indexes of patella alta. A large number of clinicians and radiography physicians are trying to diagnose and treat this disease as early as possible.


To review the radiographic measurement and research progress of patella alta, find out the advantages and disadvantages of different indexes, and look into the future development prospects.


A computer-based online search of Pubmed and CNKI databases between 1989 and 2013 was performed for articles addressing radiographic diagnose and measurement patella alta. The key words were “patella alta, patella height, measurement, diagnosis” in English and “patella alta, patella height, patella position, diagnosis, measurement” in Chinese.


Now there are many measurement indexes of patella alta and they are divided into two groups: indirect index and direct index. The indirect index measures the relative location of patella and tibia, such as Insall-Salvat index, Blackburne-Peel index, and Caton-Deschamps index. The direct index measures the relative location of patella and femur, such as patellotrochlear index, and patellophyseal index. The latest study indicates that the biomechanics of patellofemoral joint is the key to understand the pathogenesis of patellofemoral disorder. As the MRI technique develops, direct index for the location of articular cartilage of patellofemoral joint, such as patellotrochlear index, seems to be the best measurement to patella alta. However we still have many problems in the study of patellotrochlear index.

Subject headings: patella; photogrammetry; cartilage, articular; biomechanics

Guo RP, Xu B. Measurement of patella height and advance of patella alta. Zhongguo Zuzhi Gongcheng Yanjiu. 2014; 18(20):3269-3274.

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