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Ortho X-Ray

Assessing for Joint Effusion

February 15th, 2021

Knee Effusion

  • Look For

  • Fluid in the suprapatellar pouch
  • Fluid in Hoffa's triangle (anteriorly, between the femur and tibia)
  • Separation of the anterior fat pads of the knee
  • 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
  • Malignancy - osteosarcoma

Teardrop Sign (Ankle)

  • Look For

  • A teardrop-shaped hyperdensity anterior to the ankle joint, due to displacement of the pretalar fat pad by fluid within the joint space.
  • Significance

  • Ankle joint effusion, suggestive of an occult fracture.
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