Our orthopaedic knee consultants will initially spend time to get a full understanding of your individual symptoms. Factors such as the timeline of your condition, any contributing traumas or any repetitive occupational or sports-related positions or movement that causes the pain will be taken in to account.
Some knee conditions may have associated symptoms such as swelling, giving way or instability, locking or an inability to weight-bear through the leg. These symptoms are often helpful in formulating possible diagnoses.
A thorough physical examination will be conducted of the lower limbs. As well as a detailed examination of the hips, knees and ankles/ feet, your consultant will also carry out an assessment of some of the soft tissue structures and muscles. Specialist assessment techniques may include:
- Assessing posture of the pelvis and lower limb
- Range of motion tests, which may give an indication of degenerative changes or knee cartilage problems
- Assessing hip range of motion, to ensure there is no underlying hip condition (which can cause referred pain to the knee)
- Palpation (feeling the tissues under the skin to assess for pain)
- Resistance tests to check the integrity of the muscles around the knee (quadriceps and hamstrings)
State-of-the-art diagnostics available for you
To reach the most accurate diagnosis prior to offering treatment your knee consultant may request several types of imaging, including:
- X-rays of the knee joint: these can be very useful when assessing the degree of any degenerative changes to the knees. X-rays taken at specialist angles may also be useful in determining whether there are any signs of abnormal alignment to the knees, or any evidence of a loose body within the joint that may cause symptoms such as pain, instability or locking.
- MRI scan: may be considered for inspecting the soft tissue of the knee, including when a meniscal tear, ligament tear or rupture is suspected. MRI scans may also be requested when there is a need to investigate the bony cartilage (joint surfaces) in more detail than a plain X-ray may provide.
- Ultrasound: in instances of pain around the lower knee cap (patella), or where a muscle tear is suspected, an ultrasound scan can be useful to image the relevant structures.
The right treatment for you, always
You will always be given the space and time to talk about how your symptoms have affected you. Your individual goals, whether sporting or non-sporting will also be thoroughly discussed to determine the best possible management plan for you.
As well as offering the best possible surgical outcomes, when required our orthopaedic knee surgeons are able to administer or refer on for image-guided knee injections or rehabilitation with our specialist physiotherapists.