Special Tests: Knee Ligament Tests

by Brent Brookbush DPT, PT, COMT, MS, PES, CES, CSCS, ACSM H/FS

For an introduction to Special Tests including definitions of specific terminology, what special tests measure, how we chose the tests in these lessons, and best use, check out:

Special Tests Covered in this Lesson:

Combination Exams and Selection of Knee Ligament Special Tests:

The routine combination of patient history, physical examination and radiographs, is as accurate as MRI for diagnosing anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury (1, 4 - 15). The combination exam is also very accurate for posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) injuries (1, 9, 15 - 17), and is specific, but may lack sensitivity, for collateral ligament injuries (1, 16, 17). Unfortunately, these studies lack the detail necessary to identify an optimal set of subjective exam questions, special tests, movement assessments, and/or radiographs that could be recommended to other professionals. At this point, no studies could be located regarding a "test-item cluster" for knee ligament injury, but based on results from the combined exams, more consideration should be given to this line of inquiry.

The tests in the course were chosen to ensure that the major stabilizing ligaments of the knee were assessed, this includes "best tests" for the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), collateral ligaments and posterior cruciate ligament (PCL).