The knee is a complex structure, making it vulnerable to a variety of injuries. Many knee injuries can be successfully treated by conservative treatment, such as bracing, physical therapy and rest. Other knee injuries may require surgery to correct.
According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, there were roughly 10.4 million patient visits to doctors' offices in 2010 because of common knee injuries such as fractures, dislocations, sprains, and ligament tears. Knee injury is one of the most common reasons people see their doctors.
Knee injuries caused by negligence is a common type of personal injury case for the attorneys of Lipkin & Higgins. Additionally, construction workers and trades people incur knee injury resulting from carrying heavy objects or repeated squatting, bending and crouching. In car accidents, the forces of collisions may injure the knee.
Following is some information about the structure of the knee, tests of various injuries, and medical videos showing surgical treatment that we hope will prove helpful to you, together with proper medical consultation, in understanding your knee injury.
What You Should Know About Knee Anatomy
Dr. J. Michael Bennett Explains Bracing and Knee Injuries
Tests to determine if there is a meniscus tear:
- Joint Line Tenderness: Joint line tenderness is a very non-specific test for a meniscus tear. The area of the meniscus is felt, and a positive test is considered when there is pain in this area.
- McMurray's Test: McMurray's test is performed with the patient lying flat on his back and the examiner bending the knee. A click is felt over the meniscus tear as the knee is brought from full flexion to full extension.
- Ege's Test: Ege's test is performed with the patient squatting, a click is heard/felt over the area of the meniscus tear.
View Arthroscopic Surgery of a Torn Meniscus
Three Tests to Detect an ACL Tear
- Lachman Test: The Lachman test is the best test to diagnose an ACL tear. With the knee slightly bent, the examiner stabilizes the thigh while pulling the shin forward. A torn ACL allows the shin to shift too far forward.
- Anterior Drawer Test: This test is also performed with the patient lying flat on his back. The knee is bent 90 degrees and the shin is pulled forward to check the stability of the ACL.
- Pivot Shift Test: The pivot shift test is a difficult maneuver to perform on a patient who is not under anesthesia. This test places a stress on the knee joint that forces a partial dislocation in patients with a damaged ACL.
Surgical Knee Repair of the ACL/PCL
Tests to Detect Other Ligament Injuries
- Posterior Drawer Test: The posterior drawer is performed similarly to the anterior drawer test. This test detects injury to the PCL. By pushing the shin backward, the function of the PCL is tested.
- Collateral Ligament Stability: Side-to-side stability of the knee detects problems of the collateral ligaments, the MCL and LCL. With the patient lying flat, and the knee held slightly bent, the shin is shifted to each side. Damage to the LCL or MCL will allow the knee to "open up" excessively, a problem called varus (LCL) or valgus (MCL) instability.
Tests to Detect Kneecap Problems
- Patellar Grind: The patient lies supine with the leg extended. The examiner reproduces the patient's knee pain by pushing the kneecap down and asking the patient to flex his thigh muscles. Damaged cartilage can cause a grinding sensation called crepitus.
Tests to Detect Knee Arthritis
(From Jonathan Cluett, MD, board certified orthopedic surgeon)
Knee arthritis can be detected by looking for several characteristic examination findings:
- Crepitus: Crepitus is the sensation that is felt when rough cartilage or exposed bone is rubbing as the knee is bent. The examiner will feel, and may hear, this grinding as the knee is bent back and forth.
- Deformity: As the knee cartilage is worn away, the knees may become progressively knock-kneed or bow-legged.
- Limited Motion: The range of motion of the knee typically becomes limited if arthritis, bone spurs, and swelling prevents normal mobility.
If you believe your knee injury is work related or the result of an accident or negligence, feel free to call and speak with one of the personal injury attorneys at Lipkin & Higgins. The consultation is free of charge.