Soft tissue injuries of the knee are some of the most common and clinically challenging musculoskeletal disorders in patients presenting to the ED. Therefore, establishing clear-cut diagnostic and therapeutic objectives for these injuries is important.
Knee pain and related symptoms may derive from damage to 1 or more of the soft tissue structures that stabilize and cushion the knee joint (including the ligaments, muscles, tendons, and menisci), from infection to the knee joint or surrounding structures, or from trauma to the bones forming the joint. In addition to the etiology of the patient's presenting complaint, it is important to determine the acuity of the pathologic process as an acute traumatic or infectious event or exacerbation of a chronic overuse or degenerative syndrome.
Accurate and timely diagnosis increases the likelihood of fully restoring normal and pain-free use of the affected knee. For most patients, the severity of the etiology and the injury or pathologic process, acute or chronic, can be determined from a targeted history, focused physical examination, and thoughtful workup including diagnostic imaging (eg, plain radiography).
Synonyms and related keywords:
soft tissue knee injury, soft-tissue knee injury, knee injury, knee pain, knee strain, knee ligaments, medial collateral ligament, MCL, lateral collateral ligament, LCL, anterior cruciate ligament, ACL, ACL tear, posterior cruciate ligament, PCL, patella, knee joint, PCL tear, knee sprain, knee dislocations, compartment syndrome, chronic knee instability, degenerative joint disease, chondromalacia patellae, patellar malalignment syndrome, Larsen-Johansson disease of the patella, inferior pole patellar chondropathy, meniscal tear, ACL-deficient knee, Baker cyst, bursitis, tendinitis, knee effusion, cruciate ligament tear, knee dislocation, articular fracture, meniscal injuries, acute ligament rupture, capsular disruption, prepatellar bursitis, meniscal cystic changes, outgrowth of a popliteal cyst, tears in the meniscus, injury of the cruciate ligaments, osteochondral fracture, antalgic gait, Bragard sign, positive patellar apprehension sign, rupture in the quadriceps, Osgood-Schlatter syndrome, valgus stress, varus stress, Lachman maneuver, anterior drawer testing, posterior drawer testing, tibial sag test, Godfrey sign, pivot-shift test, McMurray test, Apley compression, grind test, O'Donahue triad
Author: David Levy, DO 2006