Objectives: Although vastus medialis and vastus lateralis are important muscular determinants of patellofemoral joint function, it is unclear how these muscles relate to the structure of the patellofemoral joint. The aim of this cross-sectional study was to determine the relationship between the vasti muscles and patella cartilage volume and defects and patella bone volume. Methods: One hundred and seventy-five women, aged 40-67 years, with no knee pain or clinical lower-limb disease had magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of their dominant knee. The cross-sectional areas of the distal vastus medialis and lateralis were measured 37.5 mm superior to the quadriceps tendon insertion at the proximal pole of the patella. Patella cartilage volume and defects and patella bone volume were measured from these images using validated methods. Results: There was no significant association between the distal vastus medialis cross-sectional area and patella cartilage volume. For every 1 mm2 increase in the distal vastus medialis cross-sectional area, there was an associated increased risk of patella cartilage defects [odds ratio (OR): 1.2; 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.004, 1.5; P = 0.05], and an associated increase in patella bone volume (OR: 3.9; 95% CI 2.0, 5.8; P < 0.001) after adjustment for potential confounders. There was no significant relationship between vastus lateralis cross-sectional area and measures of patella cartilage or bone. Conclusion: An increased cross-sectional area of the distal portion of the vastus medialis muscle is associated with an increased risk of patella cartilage defects, and an increase in patella bone volume among healthy women. Although these results need to be confirmed in longitudinal studies, they suggest that an increase in the distal vastus medialis cross-sectional area is associated with structural change at the patellofemoral joint.
- Vastus lateralis
- Vastus medialis