Examination of the Knee

  • Quen O. Tang
  • Chinmay M. GupteEmail author


The art of clinical examination is often forgotten with the advent of increasingly precise imaging modalities but in fact remains the most powerful tool in the surgeon’s armamentarium and is at the heart of the patient–clinician relationship. A clear examination sequence forms a fundamental tool for the diagnosis and correct treatment of knee pathology. Whilst this is important, the advanced examiner together with the history will tailor a specific exam series depending on the suspected pathology. In general, there are three broad series: one for patellofemoral/extensor mechanism pathologies; one for meniscal and chondral (articular) lesions; and one for instability. This chapter will provide an overview of advanced physical examination of the knee and outlines the most commonly used tests. Images and detailed descriptions will provide the reader with a thorough understanding of hand positions and identifying a positive sign.


Knee Clinical examination Static assessment Dynamic assessment Assessment of gait 

Supplementary material (77.1 mb)
Video 1.1 Demonstrates how to assess patella tracking. (MOV 78990 kb)
Video 1.2

Demonstrates how to assess for extensor lag. (MOV 55010 kb)

Video 1.3

Demonstrates hand position for Lachman’s test. Note the obvious translation of the tibia on the femur. (MP4 1495 kb)

Video 1.4

Demonstrates how to perform an anterior drawer test (MP4 3116 kb)

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Video 1.5 Demonstrates anteromedial instability. Note that the tibia is internally rotated. (MP4 1175 kb)
Video 1.6

Demonstrates the Thessaly test. Supporting the patient’s balance is useful. (MOV 73990 kb)

Video 1.7

Demonstrates the modified Clarke’s test. Always look at the patients pain for pain response and note the 20° of flexion over the examiners contralateral thigh. (MOV 37522 kb)

395761_1_En_1_MOESM8_ESM.mp4 (4.1 mb)
Video 1.8 (MP4 4212 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Musculoskeletal Surgery Group, Department of Surgery and CancerImperial College LondonLondonUK

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