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What are the best ways to x-ray image the knee?


When do femoral shaft injuries occur?

- High velocity trauma e.g RTA

- Child abuse 

- Osteoporotic or bone lesions can lead to fractures with low velocity e.g falling over from standing


Who is at risk of getting knee disorders?

- Elderly

- Obese people

- Athletes


What is the danger of femoral shaft injuries?

- Hypovolaemic shock due to blood loss of around 1-1//5 litres in closed fracture, can be double this in open fracture

- Fix surgically 


How does a femoral shaft get deformed after fracture and why?

- Proximal part usually abducted due to glut med and min on greater trochanter 

- Proximal flexed due to iliopsoas on lesser trochanter

- Distal adducted into varus deformity due to adductor muscles and extended due to gastrocnemius on posterior femur


What is a distal femoral fracture, who is at risk and what is the major risk with this type of fracture?


- Young people in high energy sporting injury or old person with osteoporotic bone and a fall 

- Popliteal artery can become involved so have to assess status of limb before and after reduction of fracture




What do tibial plateau fractures look like?

- Due to high energy injuries of axial loading with valgus or varus angulation of knee

- Uni/Bicondylar (mainly lateral tibial condyle)

- Articular cartilage always damage so fracture fragments have to be removed but almost always get OA after surgery 

- These fractures associated with ACL injuries and meninscal tears


What are the causes of a patella fracture, what are the two types and how are they treated?

- Direct impact injury (e.g dashboard) or eccentric contraction of quadriceps (e.g skiing)



- Reduce and fix



- Splint and protect e.g crutches


How can you tell when examining a patient that they may have a patellar fracture?

- Palpable defect in patella 

- Haemarthrosis in joint

- Extensor mechanism may be disrupted if fracture splits patella distal to insertion of quadriceps tendon (displaced fracture)


Why may a patient appear to have a patellar fracture but they haven't had any trauma?

- Bipartite patella

- Failure of union via ossification so fibrocartilage remains


What is the difference between patella dislocaiton and subluxation?

- Dislocation is when patella is completely displaced from normal alignment

- Subluxation is partial displacement 


What is the most common way for the patella to dislocate, why, and how does the anatomy of the knee try to avoid this?

- Laterally 

- Q angle between pull of quad tendon and patellar ligament means most likely to go laterally 

- Usually VMO contraction stabilises patella in trochlear groove and controls tracking of patella


What movement is most likely to cause patellar dislocation and who is predisposed to these injuries?

- Twisting injury in slight flexion or direct blow to knee

- Mainly sporty teenagers with internal rotation of femur on planted foot whilst flexing knee 



- Generalised ligamentous laxity 

- Weakness of quad muscles, e.g VMO 

- Shallosw trochlear groove with flat lateral lip 

- Long patellar ligament 

- Previous dislocations 


How do you treat a patella dislocation?

- Extending knee and manually reducing patella 

- Immobilisation during healing 

- Physiotherapy to strengthen VMO



When do meniscal tears occur and what do they look like on MRI?

- Sudden twisting motion of weight bearing knee in high degree of flexion 

- May be some knee joint effusion too due to fluid and fluid in area of tear (white)


What are the two types of meniscal tear and how are meniscal tears treated?

- Acute usually surgical meniscetomy or meniscal repair

- Degenerative usually rehabilitation and conservative as surgical not long prognosis


What will the patient normally present with with a meniscal tear?

- Intermittent pain localised to joint line 

- Knee clicking, catching and locking 

- Giving way sensation 

- Swelling may be delayed symptom due to reactive effusion




What does locking of the knee mean when a patient describes it?

Inability to full extend knee due to intra-articular foreign body 


What things affect the knee stability?

- Static: bones and ligaments

- Dynamic: muscles and tendons


What is the unhappy triad?

- Three tears due to a strong force applied to the lateral aspect of the knee 

- Medial meniscus is adherent to medial collateral ligament which is why it tears too 


What is the role of the collateral ligaments and how are they injured?

- Control lateral movement of knee joint and brace against unusual angulation 

- Also, work with PCL to prevent excessive posterior motion of tibia on femur. 

- Injured due to acute varus or valgus angulation of knee 


What will patients present with when they have a collateral ligament injury?

- Pain and swelling of knee immediately 

- Joint unstable and patient complains of giving way or not supporting body weight

- Brace and rehab or surgery with unhappy triad


What collateral ligament breaks with each strain?

- Valgus: medial at risk (more common)

- Varus: lateral at risk 

- LCL break will cause more knee instability as shallower socket for femoral condyle on lateral side


What does the ACL normally do and how is it torn?

- Controls rotational stability of the knee

- More common tear than PCL 

- Quick deceleration, hyperextension or rotational injury (sudden change in direction) can cause tear

- Usually non contact injury 

- Can be torn by large force to back of knee in slight flexion 


What does an ACL tear normally present as and how is it fixed?

- Popping sensation with immediate swelling 

- Instability of knee due to tibia sliding anteriorly 'giving way'



- Low functional demand on knee can use musculature to stabilise joint

- Sportsman need surgical reconstruction


How does PCL tear occur?

- Dashboard injury as knee is flexed and large force applied to upper tibia displacing it posteriorly 

- Person falling on flexed knee with ankle plantarflexed

- Tackle with knee flexed

- Severe hyperextension can avulse PCL from it's insertion 


What tests can be done to check the stability of the cruciate ligaments?

- Lachman's Test (ACL) 

- Anterior and Posterior Drawer tests


How do you dislocate the knee, what are the complications and how do you treat it?

- Uncommon and due to high energy as have to rupture 3 out of 4 ligaments

- Popliteal artery injury as tethered proximally. Can lead to haematoma, be crushed or traction injury leading to thrombotic occlusion

- Reduce and stabilise and then test vasculature with MRA


What are some of the causes of swelling around the knee?

- Bony: Osgood-Schlatter's


- Soft tissue: localised popliteal lymph node or artery. generalised lymphoedema 


- Fluid: effusion in joint or soft tissue haematoma outside


What are the two main types of knee effusions?

Acute: <6 hours after injury due to haemarthrosis


Delayed: >6hours after injury due to reactive synovitis, inflammation of synovium so more synovial fluid