Source: Robert E. Sallis, MD. Kaiser Permanente, Fontana, California, USA
The knee is a hinged joint that connects the femur with the tibia. It is the largest joint in the body, and due to its location in the middle of the lower leg, it is subjected to a variety of traumatic and degenerative forces. Examination of the knee can be quite complex, owing to the fact it is an inherently unstable joint held together by various ligaments and supported by menisci, which act as shock absorbers and increase the contact area of the joint. In addition, the patella lies in front of the knee, acting as a fulcrum to allow the forceful extension of the knee needed for running and kicking. As the largest sesamoid bone in the body, the knee is a common source of pain related to trauma or overuse.
When examining the knee, it is important to remove enough clothing so that the entire thigh, knee, and lower leg are exposed. The exam begins with inspection and palpation of key anatomic landmarks, followed by an assessment of the patient's range of motion (ROM). The knee exam continues with tests for ligament or meniscus injury and special testing for patellofemoral dysfunction and dislocation of the patella. The opposite knee should be used as the standard to evaluate the injured knee, provided it has not been previousl…
Physical Examinations III
1Department of Ophthalmology, Massachusetts Eye and Ear, 2JoVE Content Production