How Is Knee Pain Diagnosed? Knee Problem Diagnosis Tests

Physical examination
Physical examination

As several physical conditions or diseases cause knee problems so there is a wide range of diagnostic tests for detecting and tracing back the underlying cause of knee problem in each individual. Some of the most commonly occurring physical conditions which become the cause of knee problem include gout, osteoarthritis, joint dislocation, baker’s cyst, rheumatoid arthritis (RA), tendinitis, meniscus tear, and bursitis. Moreover, for each different cause of knee problem, there is need of a different diagnostic test for that specific cause. The detailed diagnosis gives the doctor a specific and accurate cause of the knee problem in a patient. Some of the common in practice diagnostic tests for knee problem includes blood testing, CT scans, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), ultrasound, X-rays and other scanning tests.

After doing an initial checkup, the doctor further goes for the more suitable imaging test for a specific patient.

Physical examination

Most of the family physicians more often encounter patients with knee problems. An accurate diagnosis must require detailed information about common pain sequences in knee injuries, knee anatomy and factors of frequently occurring causes of knee problems. However, the specialized skills of a doctor to perform physical examination are a must to attain diagnosis for the patient with a knee problem. The doctors perform a physical exam in order to diagnose the knee problem by carefully inspecting the palpation for tenderness, knee pain, range-of-motion test, evaluation of joint effusion, assessment of ligaments for laxity or injury, and occurrence of the menisci. However, a doctor is more likely to:

  • Examine your knee for pain, swelling, warmth, tenderness and visible bruising
  • To monitor or evaluate the integrity of the muscles and the structures which are present in your knee by pulling or pushing the joint
  • And doctors also observe that how far a patient can move his/her lower leg in various directions

In addition to the physical examination, the doctor also inquires the patient for a detailed history of any past knee problem or injury to get help with obtaining an accurate diagnosis. The history of the patient must include factors related to the pain, joint effusion, timing of pain, the mechanism of injury, and mechanical symptoms such as locking or popping of the patient.

1Types Of Diagnotic Tests

Laboratory tests
Laboratory tests

After the complete physical examination of the patient, the doctor evaluates the condition of the patient and then further recommends the type of diagnostic test that specific patient needs. [1] There are two types of tests which the doctors perform to inspect the causing factor behind knee problem. Your doctor might suggest you one of these tests for an accurate diagnosis of a knee problem:

Laboratory tests

Your doctor might suggest you laboratory test, in case he/she’s suspects an inflammation or infection in your knee. Then your doctor might suggest you to have blood tests and some of the time, the doctors also perform a procedure which in known as arthrocentesis to diagnose your knee problem. In this procedure, the medical professional with the help of the needle a small takes a certain amount of the fluid from your knee joint and sends the sample to a laboratory for further analysis.

The presence of effusion, tenderness, marked pain, and warmth along with a limited range of motion in the knee joint is most recurring in patients with inflammatory arthropathy and septic arthritis. Moreover, an erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) and complete blood count accompanying arthrocentesis is important to detect the underlying cause of knee problem. The laboratory analysis of the joint fluid is also necessary for detecting the cell count with glucose, protein, bacterial culture, and light sensitivity to rule out the presence of any crystals in the joint fluid.

Back