Pattern of joint damage in persons with knee osteoarthritis and concomitant ACL tears

Verena Stein, Ling Li, Grace Lo, Ali Guermazi, Yuqing Zhang, C. Kent Kwoh, Charles B. Eaton, David J. Hunter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears are known to be a risk factor for incident knee osteoarthritis (OA). At the present time, it is unknown whether an incidental ACL tear in those with established knee OA alters the pattern of synovial joint damage. Therefore, our aim was to assess whether ACL tears in persons with knee OA are associated with specific patterns of cartilage loss, meniscal degeneration, and bone marrow lesion (BML) location. We included 160 participants from the progression subcohort of the Osteoarthritis Initiative (OAI) Study, an ongoing 4-year, multicenter study, focusing on knee OA. Regional cartilage morphometry measures including cartilage volume (mm3), denuded area, normalized cartilage volume, bone surface area, as well as location of meniscal pathology and BMLs in index knees on the same side were compared between those with and without ACL tears. Of the 160 subjects (51% women, age 62.1 (±9.9), BMI 30.3 (±4.7) kg/m2), 14.4% had an ACL tear. After adjusting for age, BMI and gender participants with ACL tears had significantly greater cartilage volume in the posterior lateral femur (P = 0.04) and the central medial tibia (0.001) compared to those without ACL tears. Normalized cartilage volume was not different between those with and without ACL tears. In addition, individuals with ACL tears had significantly larger bone surface areas in the medial tibia (P = 0,006), the central medial tibia (P = 0.008), the posterior lateral femur (P = 0.004), and the posterior medial femur (P = 0.04). Furthermore, participants with ACL tears showed significantly more meniscal derangement in the lateral posterior horn (P = 0.019) and significantly more BMLs in the lateral femur (P = 0.0025). We found clear evidence of predominant lateral tibiofemoral involvement, with OA-associated findings on MRI, including increased denuded area and bone surface area, BMLs, and meniscal derangement in knees of individuals with ACL tears compared to those without.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1197-1208
Number of pages12
JournalRheumatology International
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2012


  • Anterior cruciate ligament tear
  • Bone marrow lesions
  • Cartilage loss
  • Knee osteoarthritis
  • Meniscal pathology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Rheumatology
  • Immunology


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