Knee Physical Exam

Individuals suffering from knee pain or other problems related to their knee joint can get a full knee physical exam at our Beverly Hills medical office. Our physicians have a deep understanding of the complex anatomy and function of the knee joint and its internal structures. They can identify the cause of your problem and provide a clear, correct diagnosis so you can start an effective treatment plan as soon as possible.
Knee pain is one of the most common problems active adults face. It’s a major cause of disability which can affect daily routine activities and limit movement. That’s why knee examination is a critical step in aiding patients with pain in the knee to reach a diagnosis and begin the appropriate treatment.
A knee exam consists of the following parts:

Inspection

Your physician will look at your knee to observe any abnormalities like swelling, redness, bruising, or signs of deformity. During this step, both knees will be compared to identify any differences in bone length or position. You could also be asked to walk so your physician can check if your gait is dramatically affected by your knee problem.

Palpation

During this step of your knee exam, your physician will feel your knee in order to determine the exact location of pain. This will also help the physician detect dislocation or swelling. If you feel any pain while your physician palpates the different parts of the knee, let him or her know so they can take note of the severity of pain and its location.

Range of motion (ROM)

Range of motion (ROM) tests are performed as part of your knee exam to check your ability to move your knee. Your physician will ask you to flex, extend, and rotate your knee as far as you can. Any restriction in these movements can be a sign of knee injury. If you experience any pain while performing these movements, point it out to your physician.

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Special tests

These special tests, also called knee pain tests, are important for the diagnosis of knee injuries. They target the different ligaments within the knee joint structure as well as tendons inserting inside the knee joint.

  • Lachman test: used to diagnose anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) rupture
  • Pivot shift test: used to detect ACL injury
  • Posterior drawer test: used to diagnose posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) injury
  • Valgus or varus stress test: used to detect medial or lateral collateral ligament (MCL or LCL) damage
  • Apley test: used to identify meniscal tears
  • McMurray’s test: used to identify meniscal tears
  • Straight leg raise test: used to diagnose injuries of the quadriceps or patellar tendons

Imaging

In addition to the basic knee physical exam, your physician may request an x-ray or ultrasound to get a better picture of your knee joint. At our Beverly Hills medical office, we perform musculoskeletal ultrasound imaging for various regions of the body. If your physician requests a knee ultrasound, you can easily schedule an appointment with our ultrasound specialist. A knee ultrasound produces clear images of the inner parts of the knee joint including tendons, ligaments, and bones. Based on the ultrasound results, your physician will be able to confirm the presence of any tears, fluid collection, or inflammation in your knee.

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