During the physical exam, your doctor will press on different parts of your knee and move your leg into a variety of positions. These maneuvers will help rule out other conditions that have similar signs and symptoms.
To help determine the cause of your knee pain, your doctor may recommend imaging tests such as:
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- X-rays. A small amount of radiation passes through your body in the process of creating X-ray images. This technique visualizes bone well, but is less effective at viewing soft tissues.
- Computerized tomography (CT) scan. CT scans combine X-ray images taken from many different angles to create cross-sectional images of internal structures. CT scans can visualize both bone and soft tissues, but the procedure delivers a much higher dose of radiation than do plain X-rays.
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Using radio waves and a strong magnetic field, MRIs produce very detailed images of bones and soft tissues. But MRIs are much more expensive than X-rays or CT scans.
- Frontera WR, et al. Essentials of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation: Musculoskeletal Disorders, Pain, and Rehabilitation. 2nd ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2008. http://www.mdconsult.com/das/book/body/208746819-6/0/1678/0.html. Accessed Dec. 5, 2012.
- O'Connor FG, et al. Patellofemoral pain syndrome. http://www.uptodate.com/index.html. Accessed Dec. 5, 2012.
- Runner's knee (Patellofemoral pain). American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=a00382. Accessed Dec. 5, 2012.
- Ferri FF. Ferri's Clinical Advisor 2013: 5 Books in 1. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2012. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/about.do?eid=4-u1.0-B978-0-323-08373-7..00002-9&isbn=978-0-323-08373-7&about=true&uniqId=343863096-23. Accessed Dec. 5, 2012.
- Laskowski ER (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Dec. 6, 2012.