The Knee Joint
Introduction & Epidemiology
Knee injuries are amongst the most common injuries next to shoulder, low-back, and neck pain seen in general practice (Picavet et al. 2003). They can be divided into two logical subgroups: traumatic and atraumatic knee injuries.
Traumatic injuries commonly involve a specific mechanism of injury such as during sports and they usually have a rapid onset. Atraumatic injuries on the other hand are rather overuse injuries that build up gradually over time with an insidious onset.
In primary care, the reported incidence is 13.7/1000 and the prevalence is 19/1000 persons per year for knee injuries (van der Linden et al. 2004)
The course of knee complaints appears not to be too favorable. Reports show that at a 12-month follow-up, 33% of patients with atraumatic knee pain and 25% of patients with traumatic knee pain report full recovery (Wagemakers et al. 2012).
For atraumatic knee injuries, the following prognostic factors were associated with persistent knee symptoms after 1 year (Belo et al. 2009):
- age >60 years
- low educational level
- comorbidity of the skeletal system
For traumatic knee injuries, however, Wagemakers et al. (2012) report the following prognostic factors:
- age >40
- female gender
- pain score >5
- popping sensation during trauma
Multivariate logistic regression analysis revealed that only age >40 was a prognostic factor for persistent complaints at the 1-year follow-up.
There are several specific pathologies that count as red flags in the knee joint. These are:
Characteristic signs and symptoms are:
- Swelling/bruising over the bone
- Painful ROM
To assess for a fracture of the knee, you can make use of the Ottawa Knee Rules or Pittsburgh decision rule:
Post-traumatic neurovascular damage
This usually involves two or more ligament injuries as well (ACL, PCL, Collateral).
Characteristic signs are:
- Groove at the lateral or medial joint line
- Markedly visible and palpable deformity
- Damage to the n. peroneus communis, n.tibialis (hypofunction of muscles innervated by the nerve), a. tibialis posterior and/or a. dorsalis pedis (àpalpate for pulsation)
Complete rupture of the extensor group
This may result from low-velocity trauma (elderly), sports or motor vehicle accident (adults)
Characteristic signs are:
- Inability to lift the extended leg
- Palpable groove in the quadriceps muscle
- Difference in level of the two patellae (alta: patella tendon affected, bacha: quadriceps tendon affected)
- Inability to bear weight on the leg
Inflammation of a joint due to infection from diagnostic or therapeutic intervention, skin damage, co-morbidities, endoprosthetics, STDs, GI infection, IV drug use, tuberculosis, gout, gonorrhea, acute rheumatic arthritis, sickle cell disease, reactive arthritis, medication use: diuretics, corticosteroids
Characteristic signs include:
- General malaise
- Swelling of the entire joint (not moving, tense skin)
- Redness of the joint
- Local increase in temperature
- Decrease in ROM
This is mainly a risk in people who have disorders such as hemophilia or those who use anticoagulants.
Bone- or soft-tissue tumor
While you assess for malignancy during your general screening, localized tumors can have the following signs:
- Mild, alternating pain over weeks
- Palpable mass at the end of long bones
- Swelling of soft tissues
- Growth in a lesion/swelling that’s been existing for a longer period
- Swelling below the muscle fascia
- Swelling at a site distant to the site of trauma
Depending on the outcome, your basic assessment can give you the following info:1) Limitations in range of motion and their end-feel can guide in structural assessment (e.g. bone to bone=osteoarthritis, empty=tendinopathy due to pain)
It’s best to start with Active Range of Motion Assessment:
Standard values for the range of motion in different directions are as follows:
AROM assessment is then typically followed by Passive Range of Motion Assessment (PROM) which you can watch with a click on the following video:
During PROM assessment, it’s important to compare the range of motion as well as the end-feel of the affected knee with the unaffected side.
Collins NJ, Bierma-Zeinstra SM, Crossley KM, van Linschoten RL, Vicenzino B & van Middelkoop M. (2013) Prognostic factors for patellofemoral pain: a multicentre observational analysis. Br J Sports Med. 2013 Mar;47(4):227–33.
Kastelein M, Luijsterburg PA, Wagemakers HP, Bansraj SC, Berger MY, Koes BW, Bierma-Zeinstra SM. Diagnostic value of history taking and physical examination to assess effusion of the knee in traumatic knee patients in general practice. Archives of physical medicine and rehabilitation. 2009 Jan 1;90(1):82-6.
Van der Linden M, Westert G, Bakker D & Schellevis F. (2004) Tweede Nationale Studie naar ziekten en verrichtingen in de huisartspraktijk. Klachten en aandoeningen in de bevolking en in de huisartspraktijk. Utrecht/Bilthoven: NIVEL/RIVM. 2004
Wagemakers HPA, Luijsterburg PAJ, Heintjes EM, Berger MY, Verhaar JAN, Koes BW & Bierma-Zein- stra SMA. (2012) Predictors of persistent complaints after knee injury in primary care. Br J Gen Pract. 2012 Aug;62(601):e561–6.
- Aurelio09/12/22Orthopedic Physiotherapy of the Spine ORTHOPEDIC PHYSIOTERAPY OF THE SPINE
Fantastic course! simple to follow and extremely helpful in assessing and treating spinal related issues. Furthermore, it is possible to immediately apply the knowledge acquired in the clinic. A must for us physiotherapists.Aurelio09/12/22Orthopedic Physiotherapy of the Upper and Lower Extremities ORTHOPEDIC PHYSIOTERAPY OF THE UPPER AND LOWER EXTREMITIES
Great course! It allows you to make objective assessments with order and clarity. As a result, it is possible to set up effective and efficient treatments.
I also found the sections on the epidemiology and course of the diseases very useful, in order to educate patients and obtain greater compliance with the treatment. Super recommended!!DUNCAN10/01/21Orthopedic Physiotherapy of the Upper and Lower Extremities GREAT COURSE
Great course, lots of information, the instruction videos are really helpful.
- DOUWE WILLAERT28/12/20Orthopedic Physiotherapy of the Upper and Lower Extremities i would recommend this course to everyone.
if i may give one suggestion that is maybe hard to implement. but i sometimes struggle with explaining things in patient language. so maybe add some frequent asked questions / mechanisms from patients and how to explain it simple or with a metaphore ?
Thanks again for all your work putted in to this course <3JEROEN VAN ZANTEN20/10/20Orthopedic Physiotherapy of the Upper and Lower Extremities I LOVE IT
This course really helps the starting physio. It gives you more convidence. The first year out of school i was really not convident and after this ( relative cheap) course, it got better! Thanks a lot physiotutors! I also got motivation to start studying manual therapy, as i know now, that there is way more to learn.WOUTER13/09/20Orthopedic Physiotherapy of the Upper and Lower Extremities FUN AND EASY TO IMPLEMENT IN THE CLINICAL PRACTISE
Took my time to learn and enjoy form this course!
Would definitely recommend this to other physiotherapist who work in the first-line care.
- ANTONIUS SMOOK22/08/20Orthopedic Physiotherapy of the Upper and Lower Extremities GREAT COURSE
They go, from the basic assessment to the lower and upper limb, step by step with scientific reasoning. It’s a very usefull course to improve your clinical reasoning in practice.JASMIN KONJIC07/07/20Orthopedic Physiotherapy of the Upper and Lower Extremities REALLY REALLY GREAT!
Everything is extremely well-researched and carefully structured! My only complaint, or actually just a hope for their future courses is that more things should to be structured as bullet points. It can sometimes hard to remember facts from a big block of text. Other than that, amazing. Thanks for your great work guys, it’s been a big help!AVIV27/05/20Orthopedic Physiotherapy of the Upper and Lower Extremities Great course, very nice and clean, full attention to details, great job boys!
- Thomas20/03/20Orthopedic Physiotherapy of the Upper and Lower Extremities STARKES KONZEPT!
Starkes Konzept wissenschaftlich untermauert für die Haupt-Diagnosen der Extremitäten. Sehr übersichtliches Design. Gute Möglichkeit das Lernen einzuteilen. Fortbildung der Zukunft. Nur zu empfehlen. Freue mich auf die nächsten Kurse!Marc07/01/20Orthopedic Physiotherapy of the Upper and Lower Extremities LEERZAAM
Goede opbouw en uitleg per onderdeel.JUDITH06/01/20Orthopedic Physiotherapy of the Upper and Lower Extremities My compliments for this online course! I’m feeling all up to date now! I can see why it is highly accredited with the KNGF. Other than expected I quite enjoyed taking the course! Good structure ,good balance between text en videos and content en quiz. For me the assessment assignments worked great to lock the knowledge in! Quizzes are sufficiantly challenging and force/ motivate to really study the contents, think about it and listen to the questions carefully!
Great video footage of tests and exercises! Great links to articles! All very useful for dailey practice (even in osteopathy ;)) and immediately applicable! Should contribute to communication with other health care specialists e.g. when it comes to clinical reasoning for requesting further medical examination e.g. immaging. I already recommended the course to several colleagues!
One point of attention: I got the feeling that the short quizzes at the end of each unit didn’t always mach the unit’s content or plainly state differently (e.g. Type of SLAP lesions).
- AARON03/01/20Orthopedic Physiotherapy of the Upper and Lower Extremities PERFECT INFORMATION
Much of it was fresh rehearsal including some new insights! Would recommend.DIMITRY22/12/19Orthopedic Physiotherapy of the Upper and Lower Extremities THE FUTURE OF PHYSIOTHERAPY
I think this course should be done by all physiotherapists! The evidence based principle should be adopted by every physiotherapist, this course is a great way to learn how to apply tests, but also background information, advice for patients and some rehabilitation. I believe this kind of course is the future of physiotherapy and is very suitable for everyone.Marijke13/12/19Orthopedic Physiotherapy of the Upper and Lower Extremities BEDANKT!
Uitstekende manier van leren.
- LIEKE11/12/19Orthopedic Physiotherapy of the Upper and Lower Extremities PERFECT
The course was very interesting Learned a lot!JORN08/12/19Orthopedic Physiotherapy of the Upper and Lower Extremities ZEER LEERZAAM!
Zeer leerzame cursus, welke zeker de moeite en tijd waard is!
Gaat goed stapsgewijs dieper in op de stof.
Zorg er wel voor dat je engels up-to-date is.MATAN03/12/19Orthopedic Physiotherapy of the Upper and Lower Extremities GREAT COURSE
Super cursus!! Overzichtelijk en up to date.
- Willem01/12/19Orthopedic Physiotherapy of the Upper and Lower Extremities EXCELLENT COURSE!
A course of the highest quality. It adresses a plethora of conditions both theoreticaly and practically. Everything is well laid out and substatiated with current research. Its fun to take and challenging. If you spend the nescessary time on this course youre sure to learn a lot.
Theres allways room for some pointers so
Andreas you should stop staring so aggresivly during the examinations, its scaring me. Just lay off the steroids for a while and youll mellow out soon enough, theyre other ways to get swole bro.
Kai youve been blasting me with research citations during the whole course. my head is about to explode. Youve been luring me to the dark side of science but i know this knowledge has been paid for in missed sleep and coffee. The bags under your eyes attest to this.
Just joking, you guys are heroes to everyone enrolled in the physiotherapy eduction and therapists alike. ill be buying all of your courses as will the rest of my team.HYEOK17/11/19Orthopedic Physiotherapy of the Upper and Lower Extremities GREAT COURSE FOR NOT ONLY FIRST YEAR PHYSIOS BUT ALSO EXPERIENCED PHYSIOS.
I’ve been working in this field for 10 years and still learn from many resources such as books, youtube channels, essays and so on. And this course is awesome because it’s time efficacy and broad perspective of information in each chapter from basic anatomy, pathophysiology, to treatment. After taking this course for 5 months, I able to give more clear, updated information about each patient’s conditions and course of the current problem.
I hope you guys make another course for the spine . I wil take it!Rik24/10/19Orthopedic Physiotherapy of the Upper and Lower Extremities This course showed me some new insights that I can use in my own practice.
The course is easy to follow in your own time.
I really enjoyed it!
- M.J. Post08/09/19Orthopedic Physiotherapy of the Upper and Lower Extremities As I said, great course. When you take this course, you’re being pushed into improving your assessment skillset.Vadym Grytsenko29/07/19GREAT ILLUSTRATION OF WHAT ONLINE EDUCATION SHOULD BE! The great course with absolutely new approache to study information online!
Content is extremely useful in daily physiotherapy routine and all the material is based upon scientific researches. I did rehearse the screening and assessment process.
Great illustration of what online education should be!Jerry06/06/19GREAT! It was an excellent course! Took me 33 hours and 26 minutes to complete. I liked the cases a lot and the statistics gave me a totally new point of view to assess different tests. This course will make me a better physiotherapist. Thank you!
- Francisco Javier31/05/19THE UNIVERSITY OF THE FUTURE Awesome Course!!!, honestly it´s the University of future, you will learn all the commmon pathologies of the body with just 1 click: epidemiology, prognostic factors, course, asessment and treatment, everything from a scientific point of view. Well structured, easy to read, fast navegation, high quality videos. You will be able to answer your patient how long the complaints will last base on the last evidence with proper numbers, giving a fair prognosis which will help you to keep them motivate to the therapy and be patients and constant. There is no a day when I dont use it in the practice to consult a specific test or the sensibility of this one. Even you get you acreditation points, a bunch of them actually in comparison with other courses that you will never use in your daily routine. 100% advisable!!!
Curso Magnifico!!!, honestamente, es la universidad del futuro, aprenderá todas las patologías comunes del cuerpo con un solo clic: epidemiología, factores pronósticos, curso, evaluación y tratamiento, todo desde un punto de vista científico. Bien estructurado, fácil de leer, navegación rápida, videos de alta calidad. Podrás responder a tu paciente cuánto tiempo durarán sus molestias basado en la última evidencia con los números adecuados, lo que les dará un pronóstico justo que los ayudará a mantenerlos motivados para la terapia y ser pacientes y constantes. No hay un día en el que no lo use en la práctica para consultar una test específico o la sensibilidad de este. Incluso se obtienen puntos de acreditación, un monton ellos en comparación con otros cursos que luego nunca usas en su rutina diaria. 100% recomendable!!Nathan28/05/19Orthopedic Physiotherapy of the Upper and Lower Extremities A great course for new grads! I have found this course to be very well put together. Firstly the formatting is very user friendly – it’s easy to work through but also very to easy to navigate to specific sections to use as a reference resource. As always with these guys the videos are very high quality. The attention to detail with academic references is also spot on. You can be assured that the info is evidence based. Overall, highly recommended.Stijn14/02/19GREAT COURSE I thinks this course is great, I find the framework it teaches you very useful in assessing my patients. I like how the different pathologies are very clearly explained from epidemiology to pathophysiology to diagnostics to treatment, all evidence based. The Physiotutors-style videos used to explain the subject matter are really useful for studying too. Finally, the assingments at the end of the chapters are a great way to test and practice your knowledge on the subject you just studied.
- Remy29/05/22Orthopedic Physiotherapy of the Upper and Lower Extremities Great course; gives you a good foundation to build upon. As for potential improvements; maybe include a bit more articles that are freely available for people that don’t have access to the scientific database.Rick10/01/22Orthopedic Physiotherapy of the Upper and Lower Extremities USEFUL AND CLEAR
The course consists of easily understandable bite sized lessons. This way it was easy to spend a little time every day to work on this course. All information is easily to find and it is not too much information to remember. It really helped me as a starting physio to get more structure and confidence in my intakes and testing procedures.
Sometimes there are some grammatical or spelling mistakes, but those don’t bother me. Sometimes it would have been nice to maybe have had a bit more information on treatments though.
All-in-all a great course that I would recommend, especially for starting physio’s!GHADEER02/09/21Orthopedic Physiotherapy of the Upper and Lower Extremities EXCELLENT BUT MISSING PRINTED VERSION
Such an informative course, covers everything a physio requires! Would be better if they offered a printed material! Had a hard time with reviewing due to availability solely on e version.