Common Knee Tests in Orthopedic Examination

The following is a list of the many common tests used by physical therapists and other orthopedic/orthopaedic practitioners when examining the knee. The tests will eventually have links to descriptions of the tests as well as video demonstrations. Before learning about the examination of the knee it is useful to review basic knee anatomy. If you know of a test that should be included in this list, please let us know.

Ligaments of the knee Ligaments of the Knee – Wikimedia Commons

The knee is the largest joint in the body and is also the most commonly injured joint. As a result, there are many special tests that have been developed to help diagnose the source of knee pain, stability and function. The following is a list of some of the many special tests that have been developed for the knee.

Orthopedic Special Tests for the Knee

  • Anterior Drawer Test – Ligamentous stability of ACL
  • Bounce Home Test – Meniscus pathology 
  • Apley’s Test – Meniscus pathology 
  • Apprehension Sign 
  • Lachman Test – Ligamentous stability of ACL
  • McMurray’s Test – Meniscal tear or pathology 
  • Noble Compression Test 
  • O’Donoghue’s Test – Meniscus pathology
  • Patellar Grind Test 
  • Pivot Shift Test – Ligamentous stability of ACL
  • Posterior Drawer Test – Ligamentous stability 
  • Posterior Tibial Sag – Ligamentous stability 
  • Slocum’s ALRI Test – Ligamentous stability 
  • Thessaly Test – Meniscal tear / lesion
  • Valgus Stress Test – Ligamentous stability 
  • Varus Stress Test – Ligamentous stability 

Tests for Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (PFPS)

(Sometimes known as Chondromalacia Patella, Jumpers Knee, or Runners Knee)

  • Clarke’s Sign
  • Frund’s Sign
  • Lateral Pull Test
  • McConnell Test
  • Passive Patellar Tilt Test
  • Waldron Test
  • Zohler’s Sign


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