Purpose: To describe the cross-sectional associations between proximal tibiofibular joint (PTFJ) type configurations and knee joint structural abnormalities in older adults. Methods: A total of 967 community-based participants were studied. T1-weighted fat-suppressed magnetic resonance image (MRI) with spoiled gradient recalled echo sequence was utilized to assess the PTFJ type configurations. Knee cartilage volume, cartilage defects, bone marrow lesions and osteophytes were measured. Linear regression and binary logistic regression analyses were used to examine the associations between PTFJ type configurations and knee joint cartilage volume as well as knee structural abnormalities, respectively, after adjustment for potential confounders. Results: Seven PTFJ types including plane (49.4%), trochoid (31.9%), double trochoid (4.3%), saddle (5.4%), condylar (5.3%), trochlear (3.5%) and ball & socket (0.2%) were observed. Plane type was used as the comparator. In multivariable analyses, irregular joint types (comprising the five uncommon joint types) were associated negatively with cartilage volume, and positively with knee cartilage defects, bone marrow lesions and osteophytes in the lateral (but not medial) compartments. In contrast, trochoid type was only associated with reduced femoral cartilage volume, but not with knee cartilage defects, bone marrow lesions and osteophytes. Conclusions: Irregular PTFJ joint shapes are associated with osteoarthritic changes in the lateral, but not medial, tibiofemoral compartment in older adults. The causal relationship needs to be examined in future longitudinal studies.
- Knee osteoarthritis
- MR images
- Proximal tibiofibular joint (PTFJ)