What is the best test for knee pain?

Your doctor may first recommend that you have an X-ray, which can help detect bone fractures and degenerative joint diseases, a computed tomography (CT) scan. Like the back stretch test, the anterior stretch test is performed to assess the integrity of the knee's anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). As with the subsequent stretch test, the health of the anterior cruciate ligament is evaluated based on the amount of movement and sensation felt at the end of the ligaments while the joint is being examined. The Lachman test is used to assess the integrity of the ACL.

It is performed in a very similar way to the previous stretch test with the knee flexed to a lesser degree. This test is done in a supine position with the leg stretched out. The doctor compresses the quadriceps about 2 cm above the kneecap and asks the patient to contract the quadriceps. This quick and painless test produces a two-dimensional image of bones that helps detect fractures and joint diseases, such as osteoarthritis.

It combines x-rays taken from many different angles to provide a three-dimensional view of the knee. The test shows much more bone details than normal x-rays and can help diagnose bone problems and detect bone fractures that x-rays may not detect. Then, they will bend, stretch, rotate, or press the knee to detect an injury and determine how well the knee is moving and where the pain is. A positive Ober test result in a patient with lateral knee pain largely suggests iliotibial band syndrome.

A complete physical exam of the knee is always done to detect a knee condition, whether it is due to a recent or sudden (acute) injury or to long-lasting or recurring (chronic) symptoms. Knee aches are common, and a knee exam is the most important way to address them by finding the cause of knee pain and determining what treatment is needed. If your pain worsens when you rest and your knee is stiff when you wake up, you could have a type of arthritis. The examiner stabilizes the patient's knee and foot and applies opposing forces while bringing the knee into its range of motion.

The patella stress test, which is used to evaluate the “runner's knee”, also known as patellofemoral pain syndrome, involves lateral displacement of the patella and is indicative of poor knee alignment. The practitioner places their hands on either side of the knee while fixing the ankle in place and gently moving the knee from side to side. Iliotibial band syndrome occurs as lateral knee pain caused by a tight iliotibial band that crosses the lateral femoral epicondyle. Learn how your healthcare provider can examine your knee to determine the source of your knee pain and what tests can be done to make the diagnosis.

Vera Hostettler
Vera Hostettler

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