Tests & Screenings

Tests and screenings for knee pain

An accurate diagnosis is the first step to getting back to normal. At Fountain Valley Regional Hospital and Medical Center, we offer a wide range of tests and screenings at our hospital or at our fully equipped imaging centers. Below you’ll find some common diagnostic tests and screenings for knee pain.

Anterior and posterior drawer test

A physician requests an anterior drawer test to assess the strength of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), while the posterior drawer test is used for the posterior cruciate ligament (PCL). During both tests, the patient lies flat on the back as the examiner bends the knee 90 degrees. Pulling the shin forward checks the stability of the ACL. Pulling the shin backward checks the stability of the PCL.

Collateral ligament stability

A physician uses this test to detect problems of the collateral ligaments: the medial collateral ligament (MCL) and the lateral collateral ligament (LCL). With the patient lying flat on the back with the knee slightly bent, the examiner shifts the shin side to side. If the knee opens up excessively, there may be damage to the LCL or MCL.

Lachman test

The Lachman test typically tests for ACL tears. It is performed by an examiner with the patient lying flat on the back. The examiner bends the knee 20 degrees, pulling the shin forward while stabilizing the thigh. A knee with an injured ACL often demonstrates a less firm endpoint and more movement.

Limited motion

For physicians, testing knee mobility is a key factor in measuring knee health. If arthritis, bone spurs or swelling are present, the range of motion of the knee typically becomes limited.

McMurray test

An examiner conducts the McMurray test with the patient lying flat on the back while the examiner bends the knee. A click is felt over the meniscus tear as the knee is brought from full flexion to full extension.

Patella apprehension

Physicians use this assessment to determine if the kneecap is unstable. The examiner puts pressure on the kneecap. If the patient feels as if the kneecap is going to pop out of its groove, the kneecap may be unstable.

Patella grind

During this test, the patient lies flat with the leg extended. The examiner pushes the kneecap down as the patient flexes the thigh muscles. If the patient experiences a grinding sensation, damaged cartilage may be present.

Patella tenderness

This test is used to locate tenderness and damage to cartilage. The examiner lifts the kneecap slightly, placing direct pressure on the undersurface of the kneecap.

Let Fountain Valley connect you with a physician

Call ​(855) 226-3744 or use our Find A Physician tool to be connected to an orthopedic specialist who can answer your questions. You can also read more about diseases and conditions in our Health Library.