Family Medicine Physical Exam Competencies: The Knee Exam

Learning Objectives:

  1. Provide structured approach to joint examination
  2. Review important palpable anatomic landmarks of the knee joint
  3. Demonstrate appropriate hand placement and technique of testing ligamentous stability and meniscal integrity

Teaching Points:

  1. Inspection involves looking at the lower extremity for alignment, rotational and length discrepancies which can affect the biomechanics of the knee and lead to overuse injuries such as patellofemoral syndrome.
  2. Ligamentous testing is most important when there has been trauma to the knee and we are concerned about ligamentous injury.
  3. Knee effusion will occur when there is damage or inflammation of the structures within the knee joint (articular cartilage, meniscus, anterior and posterior cruciate ligament, or synovium).
  4. Causes of acute knee effusion - the 4 conditions that cause an acute (within one hour) knee effusion in the face of trauma are ACL injury, peripheral meniscal tear, articular fracture or patellar dislocation.

Module 6 : Teaching the "Family Medicine Clinical Competencies"