Proximal tibial osteophytes and their relationship with the height of the tibial spines of the intercondylar eminence: paleopathological study
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Proximal tibial osteophytes and their relationship with the height of the tibial spines of the intercondylar eminence: paleopathological study

  • Author(s): Hayeri, Mohammad Reza
  • Shiehmorteza, Masoud
  • Trudell, Debra J.
  • Hefflin, Tori
  • Resnick, Donald
  • et al.
Abstract

Tibial spiking (i.e., spurring of tibial spines), eburnation, and osteophytes are considered features of osteoarthritis. This investigation employed direct inspection of the medial and lateral tibial plateaus in paleopathological specimens to analyze the frequency and morphological features of osteoarthritis and to define any relationship between the size of osteophytes and that of the intercondylar tibial spines. A total of 35 tibial bone specimens were evaluated for the degree of osteoarthritis and presence of eburnation. Each plateau was also divided into four quadrants and the presence and size of bone outgrowths were recorded in each quadrant. The “medial/lateral tibial intercondylar spine index” for each specimen was calculated as follows: (medial/lateral intercondylar tibial spine height)/(anteroposterior width of the superior tibial surface). The relationships between medial and lateral tibial height indexes with the degree of osteoarthritis were then tested. Osteophytes were observed more frequently in the anterior quadrants of both tibial plateaus than in the posterior quadrants (29 vs 16 for the medial tibial plateau [p = 0.01] and 28 vs 20 for the lateral tibial plateau [p = 0.04]). Eburnation was seen more frequently in the posterior regions of both tibial plateaus than in the anterior regions (17 vs 5, p < 0.01). In specimens with no signs of osteoarthritis the lateral intercondylar tibial index was significantly lower than that in specimens with some degree of osteoarthritis (p = 0.02). The medial intercondylar tibial index of the specimens with no signs of osteoarthritis was not significantly different from that of the specimens with some degree of osteoarthritis (p = 0.45). There was a positive correlation between the lateral spine height index and the overall grading of osteoarthritis, (r = 0.6, p < 0.01). In the anteromedial and posteromedial quadrants of the lateral tibial plateau, the association between the lateral intercondylar tibial spine index and the grade of osteophytes was 0.5 (p < 0.01) and 0.7 (p < 0.01) respectively. Spiking of the lateral tibial intercondylar spine is associated with osteophyte formation and osteoarthritis. Eburnation occurs mainly in the posterior parts of the tibial plateaus while osteophytes arise mainly in the anterior parts. These findings suggest that stresses occurring in the flexed knee may contribute to many of the morphological abnormalities of osteoarthritis.

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