A decreased volume of the medial tibial spine is associated with an increased risk of suffering an anterior cruciate ligament injury for males but not females


  • Each author certifies that he or she has no commercial associations (e.g., consultancies, stock ownership, equity interest, patent/licensing arrangements, etc.) that might pose a conflict of interest in connection with the submitted article.
  • Work performed at the McClure Musculoskeletal Research Center of the University of Vermont, College of Medicine, Department of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation.
  • Conflicts of interest: None.


Measurements of tibial plateau subchondral bone and articular cartilage slope have been associated with the risk of suffering anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury. Such single-plane measures of the tibial plateau may not sufficiently characterize its complex, three-dimensional geometry and how it relates to knee injury. Further, the tibial spines have not been studied in association with the risk of suffering a non-contact ACL injury. We questioned whether the geometries of the tibial spines are associated with non-contact ACL injury risk, and if this relationship is different for males and females. Bilateral MRI scans were acquired on 88 ACL-injured subjects and 88 control subjects matched for sex, age and sports team. Medial and lateral tibial spine geometries were characterized with measurements of length, width, height, volume and anteroposterior location. Analyses of females revealed no associations between tibial spine geometry and risk of ACL injury. Analyses of males revealed that an increased medial tibial spine volume was associated with a decreased risk of ACL injury (OR = 0.667 per 100 mm3 increase). Smaller medial spines could provide less resistance to internal rotation and medial translation of the tibia relative to the femur, subsequently increasing ACL strains and risk of ACL injury. © 2014 Orthopaedic Research Society. Published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Orthop Res 32:1451–1457, 2014.