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Patellar Bulge Test

August 21st, 2017


The patellar bulge test is used to assess for an effusion of the knee joint, by attempting to move the fluid to one side of the knee.
  • How to Perform

  • Extend the knee joint. Milk the fluid from the lateral side of the knee, to the suprapatellar pouch, into the medial side of the knee. Gently press onto the fluid-filled medial side of the knee.
  • Abnormal If

  • The fullness migrates to the lateral side of the knee when the medial side is pressed.
  • Causes of Knee Effusion

  • Trauma - ligament tear, menisceal tear, intra-articular fracture, patellar dislocation
  • Arthritis - osteoarthritis, psoriatic arthritis, reactive arthritis, IBD-related arthritis, gout, pseudogout
  • Infection - septic arthritis, tuberculosis, Lyme disease, syphilis
  • Blood - haemarthrosis
  • Malignancy - osteosarcoma
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