Lateral Knee Osteoarthritis

Risk Factors and Health Impact of Lateral Compartment Knee Osteoarthritis


  • Lateral compartment knee tibio-femoral radiographic osteoarthritis (TFROA) is associated with pain and disability, and studies of this form of knee OA are few. 
  • Recent studies find that race, pelvic anatomy, and malalignment are associated with TFROA.
  • Previous studies of knee OA have either combined medial and lateral compartment TFROA or have focused on medial compartment disease. 
  • We intend to elucidate the risk factors for and health outcomes of lateral compartment TFROA.

Incident Lateral Compartment Radiographic OA
Top row: Baseline images: (left) left knee x-ray, (middle) coronal IW TSE MRI sequence, (right) Sagittal 3D DESS sequence
Bottom row: 48-month follow-up images: X-ray shows severe joint space loss in the lateral compartment. Coronal IW TSE MRI shows definite cartilage loss on both tibia and femur. Sagittal DESS also show full thickness cartilage loss on femur and tibia as well as a damage to the posterior of the lateral meniscus


  • To examine the association of lesions detected by MRI with lateral compartment TFROA
  • To examine known risk factors for medial compartment OA and their relation to prevalent and incident lateral compartment TFROA
  • To examine novel risk factors (e.g., hip and knee shape) that likely have compartment-specific effects and their relation to prevalent and incident lateral compartment TFROA
  • To examine the association of lateral compartment TFROA with incident functional impairment

Significance and Translational Aspect

  • We are using information collected in the Osteoarthritis Initiative (OAI), including longitudinal knee and hip X-ray and 3T MRI scans, as well as detailed repeated risk factor, pain, and outcomes data.
  • This study will be one of the first done in a large, well-defined cohort with excellent follow-up, imaging, and data collection of known and potential risk factors to focus specifically on lateral compartment TFROA.
  • This study will provide a greater understanding of the causes of functional impairment in this type of knee osteoarthritis and the progression to end stage of this disease. 
  • This study will help to identify osteoarthritis patients who would be most likely to progress and become disabled so that an effective treatment plan can be put into place to improve outcomes.