Login or Register to unlock everything MedSchool has to offer!
Knee Exam
Knee Exam
Examination of the knees is performed to identify and localise pathology affecting the bones, joints or soft tissues associated with the knee.

Knee Deformities


Genu Varum (Bow Leg)

    • Look For

    • Outward bowing of the legs. May be associated with a waddling gait or in-toeing. Look for deformities of the foot.
    • Causes of Genu Varum (Bow Leg)

    • Normal from birth to 2 years of age
    • Physiological bow-legging
    • Rickets - vitamin D deficiency
    • Achondroplasia
    • Blount’s disease (tibia vara)
    • Growth arrest - due to infection, fracture or tumour of the growth plate

Genu Valgum (Knock-Knee)

    • Look For

    • Inward angulation of the legs, with the knees rubbing together.
    • Causes of Genu Valgum (Knock-Knee)

    • Normal from 2-5 years of age
    • Physiologic knock-knee
    • Growth arrest - due to infection, fracture or tumour of the growth plate
    • Rheumatoid arthritis
    • Bony dysplasia
    • Osteogenesis imperfecta
    • Ligamentous pathology - collateral / cruciate ligament laxity, iliotibial band contracture

Genu Recurvatum (Back-Knee)

    • Look For

    • Backwards angulation (hyperextension) of the knee joint greater than 5 degrees.
    • Significance

    • An indicator of ligamentous laxity, either due to trauma or a hypermobility syndrome (e.g. Marfans).
Last updated on January 1st, 2017

Associated Diseases



 Browne K, Kurtz CA. How to Perform a Comprehensive Examination of the Knee. JAAPA. 2009 Jun; 22(6): 20-25. Chatra PS. Bursae around the knee joints. Indian Journal of Radiology and Imaging. 2012; 22(1): 27-30. Couture JF, Al-Juhani W, Forsythe ME, Lenczner E, Marien R, Burman M. Joint Line Fullness and Menisceal Pathology. Sprts Health. 2012 Jan; 4(1): 47-50. Davis GJ, Malone T, Bassett FH. Knee Examination. Phys Ther. 1980; 60: 1565-1574. Espandar R, Mortazavi SMJ, Baghdadi T. Angular Deformities of the Lower Limb in Children. Asian Journal of Sports Medicine. 2010 Mar; 1(1): 46-53. Fritschy D, Fasel J, Imbert JC, Bianchi S, Verdonk R, Wirth CJ. The Popliteal Cyst. Knee Surg Sports Traumatol Arthrosc. 2006; 14: 623-628. Gupte C, St Mart JP. The Acute Swollen Knee: Diagnosis and Management. Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine. 2013; 106: 259-268. Johnson MW. Acute knee effusions: a systematic approach to diagnosis. American family physician. 2000 Apr;61(8):2391-400. Kastelein M, Luijusterburg PA, Wagemakers HP, Bansraj SC, Berger MY, Koes BW, Bierma-Zeinstra SM. Diagnostic Value of History Taking and Physical Examination to Assess Effusion of the Knee in Traumatic Knee Patients in General Practice. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2009 Jan; 90: 82-86. Loudon JK, Goist HL, Loudon KL. Genu Recurvatum Syndrome. JOSPT. 1998 May; 27(5): 361-367. Malanga GA, Andrus S, Nadler SF, McLean J. Physical examination of the knee: a review of the original test description and scientific validity of common orthopaedic tests. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2003; 84: 592-603. Rose REC. The Accuract of Joint Line Tenderness in the Diagnosis of Menisceal Tears. The West Indian Medical Journal. 2006; 55(5): 323. Stratford PW, Binkley J. A Review of the McMurray Test: Definition, Interpretation, and Clinical Usefulness. The Journal of Orthopaedic and Sports Physical Therapy. 1995 Sept; 22(3): 116-120. Tofts LJ, Elliot EJ, Munns C, Pacey V, Sillence DO. The Differential Diagnosis of Children with Joint Hypermobility: a Review of the Literature. Pediatric Rheumatology. 2009; 7(1). Zarins B, Rowe CR, Harris BA, Watkins MP. Rotational Motion of the Knee. Am J Sports Med. 1983 June; 11(3): 152-156.