Objective: To investigate whether alterations of trabecular bone structure can already be found in young asymptomatic subjects with knee malalignment.
Methods: Forty-eight subjects with neutral, mild varus, severe varus, and valgus knee joint alignment were included in this study (12 subjects in each group). Histomorphometric and texture parameters of the trabecular bone in the medial/lateral femur/tibia were determined using 1.5-T magnetic resonance imaging.
Results: Apparent trabecular thickness in the medial tibia compartment was lower in the valgus group (mean ± standard error, 0.353 ± 0.012 mm) compared with the neutral (0.396 ± 0.011 mm; P = 0.043), mild varus (0.403 ± 0.011 mm; P = 0.038) and severe varus groups (0.416 ± 0.013 mm; P = 0.015). In the medial femur compartment, fractal dimension was significantly greater in the mild (1.697 ± 0.005; P = 0.015) and severe varus groups (1.698 ± 0.005; P = 0.036) than in the valgus group (1.674 ± 0.005).
Conclusions: The observed findings may be signs of the adaptation of the subchondral bone to altered loading conditions and possibly of early knee joint impairment.