Palpate the patient in the sitting position Start with the joint line Palpation Joint line tenderness: Meniscal injury Osteoarthritis Fracture Palpation
Next, find the inferior pole of the patella and palpate the patella tendon down to its insertion at the tibial tuberosity Palpation Area of tenderness and probable swelling Likely causes Inferior pole of patella Sinding-Larsen-Johansson syndrome Patellar tendon Patellar tendinopathy
Patellar rupture Patellar insertion at tibial tuberosity Osgood-Schlatter-Disease Palpation When you are at the tibial tuberosity palpate with your finger 1-2 cm medially
If the patient is tender there, consider Pes anserine bursitis Palpation Have the patient lay supine Start with palpating: Medial and lateral femoral and tibial (epi)condyles & the fibular head: Medial
Effusion is assessed by "milking" fluid distally from the suprapatellar pouch Place one hand on the supra-patellar pouch. Gently push down and towards the patella, forcing any fluid to accumulate in the central part of the joint Palpate the area adjacent to the patellar tendon for fluid accumulation If equivocal, compare with the other knee Palpation
Effusion: Ballottement A ballotable patella may be palpated after similar effusion milking Place one hand on the suprapatellar pouch. Gently push down and towards the patella, forcing any fluid to accumulate in the central part of the joint Gently push down on the patella with your thumb If there is a sizable effusion, the patella will feel as if it is floating and bounce back up when pushed down
Palpation After a trauma there is effusion (hemarthrosis) only if structures in the joint are involved: Anterior cruciate or posterior cruciate ligament (ACL, PCL) injury Meniscus injury Patellar dislocation Intra-articular fracture (e.g. tibial plateau fracture)
Remember: Sole collateral ligament (MCL, LCL) sprains will not cause an effusion Causes of non-traumatic effusion: Osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, pseudo gout, Reiters syndrome Infections e.g. gonorrhea Tumors Inspection Patellofemoral
syndrome (PFPS) The J sign The patient supine or seated and the knee extended from a flexed position. Lateral deviation of the patella can be observed during the terminal phase of extension Palpation
Next, clinical tests for patellar mobility and position, and provocative tests for pain should be performed: patellar glide patellar tilt and patellar grind tests Positive results on these tests are consistent with the diagnosis of PFPS The patellar apprehension test is used to assess for lateral instability and is positive when pain or discomfort occurs with lateral translation of the patella
Palpation Patellar glide Assesses patellar mobility Displacement of more than three quadrants suggests patellar hypermobility caused by poor medial restraints predisposing for
PFPS Palpation Patellar tilt Positive test = lateral aspect of patella is fixed and cannot be raised to at least horizontal position Indicates tight lateral structures
(e.g.: IT-band) predisposing for PFPS Palpation Patellar grind test The patient is in the supine position with the knee extended
The examiner displaces the patella inferiorly into the trochlear groove The patient is then asked to contract the quadriceps while the examiner continues to palpate the patella and provides gentle resistance to superior movement of the patella The test is indicative of PFPS if pain is produced Palpation Apprehension test
Patient is apprehensive if the examiner tries to move the patella laterally Positive after patellar (sub)luxation and in severe PFPS Range Of Motion (ROM) Test for active & passive ROM while the patient is supine
Flexion 140 Extension 0 /-10 Internal rotation 10 External rotation 10 Always compare to the other, healthy knee! Special Tests: MCL Apply valgus stress with the knee at 0 and bent at 30
0 tests for MCL as well as the cruciate ligaments 30 only tests the MCL Pain speaks for mild sprain Pain & laxity speak for moderate sprain No fix endpoint speaks for complete MCL rupture
Special Tests: LCL Apply varus stress with the knee at 0 and bent at 30 0 tests for LCL as well as the cruciate ligaments 30 only tests the LCL Pain speaks for mild sprain
Pain & laxity speak for moderate sprain No fix endpoint speaks for complete LCL rupture Special Tests: ACL Lachman test Patient supine with knee flexed 30 Pull on the tibia towards you
Anterior drawer test Patient supine with knee flexed 90 Stabilize patients foot by sitting on it Cup your hands around patients knee & draw the tibia towards you Special Tests: ACL
Lachman & anterior drawer test are positive if There is increased amount of anterior tibial translation compared with the opposite leg, and/or There is no firm end-point Special Tests: ACL Sensitivity Specificity Lachman test
85% 94% Anterior Drawer test 68% 79% Pivot Shift test 24% 98%
 Benjaminse A, Gokeler A, van der Schans CP. Clinical diagnosis of an anterior cruciate ligament rupture: a meta-analysis. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 2006 May;36(5):267-88.  Kim SJ, Kim HK. Reliability of the anterior drawer test, the pivot shift test, and the Lachman test. Clin Orthop Relat Res. 1995 Aug;(317) Special Tests: PCL Posterior drawer test Stay in the same position as for the anterior drawer test Push the tibia posteriorly If it moves backwards the
PCL is probably damaged Special Tests: PCL Another way of testing the PCL is the sag sign Special Tests: PCL Sag sign Special Tests: Meniscus Mc Murray
Hold the knee with one hand, place your fingers along the joint line and flex it to 90 Hold the foot by the sole with the other hand Special Tests: Meniscus Mc Murray (cont) Provide a valgus stress Rotate the leg externally
Extend the knee If pain or a click is felt = positive McMurray for a medial meniscus tear Special Tests: Meniscus Mc Murray (cont) Provide a varus stress Rotate the leg internally Extend the knee If
pain or a click is felt = positive McMurray for a lateral meniscus tear Special Tests: Meniscus Apley grind test The patient lays prone and flexes his/her knee 90 Place your hand on the patients heel and push down (to compress the menisci between femur & tibia) while rotating internally & externally Depending on the area of pain medial or lateral
meniscus tear Special Tests: IT-band Syndrome Obers Test The patient lies with the unaffected side down and the unaffected hip and knee at a 90-degree angle. If the IT-band is tight, the patient will have difficulty adducting the leg beyond the midline and may experience pain at the lateral knee Referred pain
Knee pain can be referred from the lumbar spine (e.g. herniated disk) or from a hip or ankle pathology, so dont forget to Do a gross hip and ankle exam Test the motor strength, sensibility and deep tendon reflexes of the lower extremities And always examine both knees! References
Various articles from American Family Physician (www.aafp.org) Hoppenfeld Physical Examination of the Spine & Extremities Netters Sports Medicine
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