Lateral compartment osteoarthritis of the knee

Biomechanics and surgical management of end-stage disease

C. E. H. Scott, R. W. Nutton, L. C. Biant


The lateral compartment is predominantly affected in approximately 10% of patients with osteoarthritis of the knee. The anatomy, kinematics and loading during movement differ considerably between medial and lateral compartments of the knee. This in the main explains the relative protection of the lateral compartment compared with the medial compartment in the development of osteoarthritis. The aetiology of lateral compartment osteoarthritis can be idiopathic, usually affecting the femur, or secondary to trauma commonly affecting the tibia. Surgical management of lateral compartment osteoarthritis can include osteotomy, unicompartmental knee replacement and total knee replacement. This review discusses the biomechanics, pathogenesis and development of lateral compartment osteoarthritis and its management.

Cite this article: Bone Joint J 2013;95-B:436–44.


  • The authors would like to thank C. Kennedy for secretarial support.

    No benefits in any form have been received or will be received from a commercial party related directly or indirectly to the subject of this article.

    This article was primary edited by D. Rowley and first-proof edited by G. Scott.

  • Received July 25, 2012.
  • Accepted October 24, 2012.
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