During the physical exam, your doctor is likely to:
- Inspect your knee for swelling, pain, tenderness, warmth and visible bruising
- Check to see how far you can move your lower leg in different directions
- Push on or pull the joint to evaluate the integrity of the structures in your knee
In some cases, your doctor might suggest tests such as:
- X-ray. Your doctor may first recommend having an X-ray, which can help detect bone fractures and degenerative joint disease.
- Computerized tomography (CT) scan. CT scanners combine X-rays taken from many different angles, to create cross-sectional images of the inside of your body. CT scans can help diagnose bone problems and detect loose bodies.
- Ultrasound. This technology uses sound waves to produce real-time images of the soft tissue structures within and around your knee, and how they are working. Your doctor may want to maneuver your knee into different positions during the ultrasound, to check for specific problems.
- Magnetic resonance imaging. MRI uses radio waves and a powerful magnet to create 3-D images of the inside of your knee. This test is particularly useful in revealing injuries to soft tissues such as ligaments, tendons, cartilage and muscles.
If your doctor suspects an infection, gout or pseudogout, you're likely to have blood tests and sometimes arthrocentesis, a procedure in which a small amount of fluid is removed from within your knee joint with a needle and sent to a laboratory for analysis.
May 22, 2015
- Knee problems. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Knee_Problems/default.asp. Accessed Jan. 23, 2013.
- Firestein GS, et al. Kelley's Textbook of Rheumatology. 9th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2013. http://www.mdconsult.com/das/book/body/208746819-6/0/1807/0.html. Accessed Jan. 23, 2013.
- Anderson RJ, et al. Evaluation of the active adult patient with knee pain. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Jan. 23, 2013.
- Marx JA, et al. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2010. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/about.do?about=true&eid=4-u1.0-B978-0-323-05472-0..X0001-1--TOP&isbn=978-0-323-05472-0&uniqId=230100505-57. Accessed Jan. 23, 2013.
- Common knee injuries. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00325. Accessed Jan. 23, 2013.
- Zeller JL, et al. JAMA patient page: Knee pain. Journal of the American Medical Association. 2007;297:1740.
- Laskowski EL (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Jan. 28, 2013.
- Calcium pyrophosphate deposition (CPPD). American College of Rheumatology. http://www.rheumatology.org/practice/clinical/patients/diseases_and_conditions/pseudogout.asp. Accessed Jan. 24, 2013.
- Kalunian KC. Nonpharmacologic therapy of osteoarthritis. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Jan. 24, 2013.
- Kalunian KC. Pharmacologic therapy of osteoarthritis. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Jan. 24, 2013.
- Glucosamine/Chondroitin Arthritis Intervention Trial (GAIT). National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. http://nccam.nih.gov/research/results/gait. Accessed Jan. 24, 2013.
- Acupuncture for pain. National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. http://nccam.nih.gov/health/acupuncture/acupuncture-for-pain.htm. Accessed Jan. 24, 2013.
You Are ... The Campaign for Mayo Clinic
Mayo Clinic is a not-for-profit organization. Make a difference today.