Advertisement

What should I expect during a knee examination?

Scott D. Martin, MD
Orthopedic Surgery
During knee examination, your doctor looks for discoloration and swelling and assesses how your knees function. While you are in various positions—sitting with knees dangling, lying on your back, or lying on your stomach with knees flexed behind you—the doctor moves your legs to assess each knee's range of motion, muscle strength, abnormal movements within the joint, and telltale pain or sounds that occur with various maneuvers. Even if only one knee hurts, the doctor examines both for comparison. If the knee is too swollen to evaluate thoroughly, your doctor may schedule a follow-up appointment.

Your doctor may want to assess the relationship of your knees to your hips by measuring your Q-angle (angle formed by the line of the femur and the line extending from the ankle through the kneecap). The Q-angle is typically from 0 to 16 degrees, with men usually at the lower end. An abnormally high Q-angle places you at greater risk of patellofemoral pain syndrome and certain injuries, such as tears of the anterior cruciate ligament. The doctor also evaluates nerve function and circulation in your legs, watches you walk, and follows up on any symptoms of general illness. He or she may schedule further tests at this point.

Continue Learning about Knee Pain

Why Knee Injury Is So Common
Why Knee Injury Is So Common
Picture this: You're squatting down to pick up your kid, when suddenly you hear a pop from your knee followed by a sharp pain. You've done this squat ...
Read More
How can I help prevent knee pain while sleeping?
Presbyterian/St. Luke's Medical CenterPresbyterian/St. Luke's Medical Center
Knee pain that prevents you from sleeping or wakes you up from sleep is frequently bone-on-bone arth...
More Answers
10 Easy Knee-Pain Treatments That You Need to Try
10 Easy Knee-Pain Treatments That You Need to Try10 Easy Knee-Pain Treatments That You Need to Try10 Easy Knee-Pain Treatments That You Need to Try10 Easy Knee-Pain Treatments That You Need to Try
Soothe your achy knees with these expert-approved tips and treatments.
Start Slideshow
How Can I Help Prevent Knee Pain?
How Can I Help Prevent Knee Pain?

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.