Diagnosing an acutely injured knee

Patients presenting with an acutely injured knee often appear in GP surgeries. Sorting out what has happened can be a challenge.

Most acute knee injuries can be diagnosed following a careful history and thorough examination.

Knee pain

The key elements of a patient's history that will lead the doctor to the most likely diagnosis include the mechanism of injury, the development of pain, the presence of swelling, instability or locking, and the response to treatment.

History and mechanism of injury
A history of an acute injury, either contact or non-contact, is most commonly associated with ligament tears, in particular anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears and medial