Evaluation of patients presenting with knee pain: Part II. Differential diagnosis

Walter L. Calmbach, Mark Hutchens

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

82 Scopus citations

Abstract

Knee pain is a common presenting complaint with many possible causes. An awareness of certain patterns can help the family physician identify the underlying cause more efficiently. Teenage girls and young women are more likely to have patellar tracking problems such as patellar subluxation and patellofemoral pain syndrome, whereas teenage boys and young men are more likely to have knee extensor mechanism problems such as tibial apophysitis (Osgood-Schlatter lesion) and patellar tendonitis. Referred pain resulting from hip joint pathology, such as slipped capital femoral epiphysis, also may cause knee pain. Active patients are more likely to have acute ligamentous sprains and overuse injuries such as pes anserine bursitis and medial plica syndrome. Trauma may result in acute ligamentous rupture or fracture, leading to acute knee joint swelling and hemarthrosis. Septic arthritis may develop in patients of any age, but crystal-induced inflammatory arthropathy is more likely in adults. Osteoarthritis of the knee joint is common in older adults.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)917-922
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican family physician
Volume68
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Family Practice

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