Lateral Meniscus Tear Diagnosis

Assessment techniques that may form part of a full examination of a lateral cartilage injury. McMurrays test and Apleys test are used to specifically test the cartilage meniscus.


Cartilage Meniscus Assessment

Assessment of any injury includes questions about the patients general health, previous injuries and of course, their current injury. The aim of these questions is to help establish which structures may be causing the pain and what treatment is appropriate.

The therapist will then undertake a physical assessment:

Palpation and Observation

  • The therapist will observe the joint for swelling, bruising and deformity and then proceed to palpate around the joint for areas of tenderness, warmth, swelling etc.
  • In cases of medial meniscus injuries, the joint line on the inside of the knee will often be tender.

Range of motion

  • The therapist will check the range of motion at the knee. They will usually ask you to bend and straighten the knee yourself (active) and will then ask you to relax as they do it for you (passive). In meniscus injuries, range of motion without pain is usually limited both actively and passively.

McMurrays test

  • McMurrays test is a test often used to diagnose cartilage injuries. With the patient laying on their back the therapist grasps 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.

Apley's test

  • 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.

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