Apley’s Test

To better understand the mechanics of this test and why it is effective, you may want to review basic knee anatomy.

What is Apley’s Test of the Knee?

Apley’s Test is commonly used in orthopedic examinations to test for injury or damage to the meniscus of the knee.

Involved Structures

  • meniscus of the knee
Meniscus of the Knee
Meniscus of the Knee
Andrewmeyerson, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Starting Position

The test is performed with the patient lying in the prone position. The knee is flexed to 90 degrees. The examiner stabilizes the patient’s thigh to the treatment table by placing their knee on the back of the thigh. The examiner holds the patient’s foot and ankle with their hands.

Test Movement

The examiner applies upward force to the lower leg by lifting at the ankle while also medially and then laterally rotating the lower leg. The same medial and lateral rotations are then done to the lower leg but with a downward compression force.

Positive Apley’s Test

The test is indicative of meniscal injury of there is pain during the compression portion of the test. If there is more pain during the distraction portion of the test, there is likely ligamentous injury in the knee.

Accuracy/Reliability of Apley’s Test

Apley’s Test is useful for detecting pathology in the knee but it may not be especially specific to the involved structures.

Video Demonstration

>> Return to the list of Common Tests in Orthopaedic Examination of the Knee


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