Assessment techniques that may form part of a full examination of a medial cartilage meniscus injury.
Knee cartilage assessment
All injury assessments should include questions about the general health and previous injuries of the patient, as well as the current injury. The aim of this is to identify which structure might be causing the pain and which treatments are appropriate.
The therapist will then undertake a physical examination to help identify which structures are causing the pain and what may have contributed to the injury developing.
The therapist will look at the joint for swelling, bruising and deformity and then will feel (palpate) around the joint for tenderness, warmth, swelling etc. With medial meniscus injuries, the joint line on the inner knee will often be tender.
Range of motion
The therapist will check the amount of movement available at the knee. They will usually ask the patient to bend and straighten the knee themselves (active) and will then ask tham to relax as they move the knee (passive). In meniscus injuries, range of motion without pain is usually limited both actively and passively.
McMurrays test is often used to indicate cartilage injuries. With the patient laying on their back the therapist holds the knee with the upper hand and the heel with the lower hand. The therapist then applies a valgus (inward) stress to the knee whilst the other hand rotates the leg externally (outwards) and extends the knee.Pain and/or an audible click while performing this maneuver can indicate a torn medial meniscus.
This test is also used in cases of suspected meniscal tears. The patient is positioned on their front with the knee bent.The therapist grasps the heel and ankle and applies a compressive force through the lower leg. At the same time,they rotate the lower leg. Any reproduction of symptoms,pain or clicking is a positive response,suggesting a torn meniscus.