Valgus stress test

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Valgus stress test
Medical diagnostics

The valgus stress test or medial stress test, is a test for damage to the medial collateral ligament of the knee. It involves placing the leg into extension, with one hand placed as a pivot on the knee. With the other hand placed upon the foot applying an abducting force, an attempt is then made to force the leg at the knee into valgus. If the knee is seen to open up on the medial side, this is indicative of medial collateral ligament damage and may also indicate capsular or cruciate ligament laxity. [1] [2]

Medial collateral ligament

The medial collateral ligament (MCL), or tibial collateral ligament (TCL), is one of the four major ligaments of the knee. It is on the medial (inner) side of the knee joint in humans and other primates. Its primary function is to resist outward turning forces on the knee.

Leg weight bearing and locomotive anatomical structure, usually having a columnar shape, function as "extensible struts"

A leg is a weight-bearing and locomotive anatomical structure, usually having a columnar shape. During locomotion, legs function as "extensible struts". The combination of movements at all joints can be modeled as a single, linear element capable of changing length and rotating about an omnidirectional "hip" joint.

Lever simple machine consisting of a beam or rigid rod pivoted at a fixed hinge, or fulcrum

A lever is a simple machine consisting of a beam or rigid rod pivoted at a fixed hinge, or fulcrum. A lever is a rigid body capable of rotating on a point on itself. On the basis of the location of fulcrum, load and effort, the lever is divided into three types. It is one of the six simple machines identified by Renaissance scientists. A lever amplifies an input force to provide a greater output force, which is said to provide leverage. The ratio of the output force to the input force is the mechanical advantage of the lever.

There are two versions of this test, valgus at 0 degrees and valgus at 30 degrees. When performing the test at 30 degrees, the MCL is the primary stabilizer; the joint capsule is also tested. When tested at 0 degrees, the MCL, medial joint capsule, and anterior and posterior cruciate ligaments are stressed.

The valgus test is also performed on horses. [3]

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Knee region around the kneecap

In humans and other primates, the knee joins the thigh with the leg and consists of two joints: one between the femur and tibia, and one between the femur and patella. It is the largest joint in the human body. The knee is a modified hinge joint, which permits flexion and extension as well as slight internal and external rotation. The knee is vulnerable to injury and to the development of osteoarthritis.

Posterior cruciate ligament one of four major ligaments of the knee

The posterior cruciate ligament is one of the four major ligaments of the knee. It connects the posterior intercondylar area of the tibia to the medial condyle of the femur. This configuration allows the PCL to resist forces pushing the tibia posteriorly relative to the femur.

Anterior cruciate ligament type of cruciate ligament in the human knee

The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is one of a pair of cruciate ligaments in the human knee. The two ligaments are also called cruciform ligaments, as they are arranged in a crossed formation. In the quadruped stifle joint, based on its anatomical position, it is also referred to as the cranial cruciate ligament. The term cruciate translates to cross. This name is fitting because the ACL crosses the posterior cruciate ligament to form an “X”. It is composed of strong fibrous material and assists in controlling excessive motion. This is done by limiting mobility of the joint. The anterior cruciate ligament is one of the four main ligaments of the knee, providing 85% of the restraining force to anterior tibial displacement at 30 degrees and 90 degrees of knee flexion. The ACL is the most injured ligament of the four located in the knee.

Segond fracture

The Segond fracture is a type of avulsion fracture of the lateral tibial condyle of the knee, immediately beyond the surface which articulates with the femur.

The McMurray test, also known as the McMurray circumduction test is used to evaluate individuals for tears in the meniscus of the knee. A tear in the meniscus may cause a pedunculated tag of the meniscus which may become jammed between the joint surfaces.

Medial meniscus

The medial meniscus is a fibrocartilage semicircular band that spans the knee joint medially, located between the medial condyle of the femur and the medial condyle of the tibia. It is also referred to as the internal semilunar fibrocartilage. The medial meniscus has more of a crescent shape while the lateral meniscus is more circular. The anterior aspects of both menisci are connected by the transverse ligament. It is a common site of injury, especially if the knee is twisted.

Lateral meniscus

The lateral meniscus is a fibrocartilaginous band that spans the lateral side of the interior of the knee joint. It is one of two menisci of the knee, the other being the medial meniscus. It is nearly circular and covers a larger portion of the articular surface than the medial. It can occasionally be injured or torn by twisting the knee or applying direct force, as seen in contact sports.

The knee examination, in medicine and physiotherapy, is performed as part of a physical examination, or when a patient presents with knee pain or a history that suggests a pathology of the knee joint.

Fibular collateral ligament fibular collateral ligament

The fibular collateral ligament is a ligament located on the lateral (outer) side of the knee, and thus belongs to the extrinsic knee ligaments and posterolateral corner of the knee.

Anterior cruciate ligament injury ligament injury near the knee

Anterior cruciate ligament injury is when the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is either stretched, partially torn, or completely torn. The most common injury is a complete tear. Symptoms include pain, a popping sound during injury, instability of the knee, and joint swelling. Swelling generally appears within a couple of hours. In approximately 50% of cases, other structures of the knee such as surrounding ligaments, cartilage, or meniscus are damaged.

Unhappy triad medical condition

The unhappy triad, also known as a blown knee among other names, is an injury to the anterior cruciate ligament, medial collateral ligament, and meniscus. Analysis during the 1990s indicated that this 'classic' O'Donoghue triad is actually an unusual clinical entity among athletes with knee injuries. Some authors mistakenly believe that in this type of injury, "combined anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligament disruptions that were incurred during athletic endeavors" always present with concomitant medial meniscus injury. However, the 1990 analysis showed that lateral meniscus tears are more common than medial meniscus tears in conjunction with sprains of the ACL.

Tear of meniscus

A tear of a meniscus is a rupturing of one or more of the fibrocartilage strips in the knee called menisci. When doctors and patients refer to "torn cartilage" in the knee, they actually may be referring to an injury to a meniscus at the top of one of the tibiae. Menisci can be torn during innocuous activities such as walking or squatting. They can also be torn by traumatic force encountered in sports or other forms of physical exertion. The traumatic action is most often a twisting movement at the knee while the leg is bent. In older adults, the meniscus can be damaged following prolonged 'wear and tear' called a ballsack swelling of the knee joint. Especially acute injuries can lead to displaced tears which can cause mechanical symptoms such as clicking, catching, or locking during motion of the knee joint. The joint will be in pain when in use, but when there is no load, the pain goes away.

This test is one of the three major tests for assessing anterior cruciate injury or laxity, the other two being the anterior drawer and Lachman test. However, unlike the other two, it tests for instability, an important determinant as to how the knee will function. In fact, it is instability, not simply the injury to the anterior cruciate ligament itself, that places the menisci at future risk, and gives rise to the feeling that the "knee is not secure" or "may give out".

Genu recurvatum deformity in the knee joint

Genu recurvatum is a deformity in the knee joint, so that the knee bends backwards. In this deformity, excessive extension occurs in the tibiofemoral joint. Genu recurvatum is also called knee hyperextension and back knee. This deformity is more common in women and people with familial ligamentous laxity. Hyperextension of the knee may be mild, moderate or severe.

Posterolateral corner injuries of the knee are injuries to a complex area formed by the interaction of multiple structures. Injuries to the posterolateral corner can be debilitating to the person and require recognition and treatment to avoid long term consequences. Injuries to the PLC often occur in combination with other ligamentous injuries to the knee; most commonly the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and posterior cruciate ligament (PCL). As with any injury, an understanding of the anatomy and functional interactions of the posterolateral corner is important to diagnosing and treating the injury.

Tibial plateau fracture

A tibial plateau fracture is a break of the upper part of the tibia (shinbone) that involves the knee joint. Symptoms include pain, swelling, and a decreased ability to move the knee. People are generally unable to walk. Complication may include injury to the artery or nerve, arthritis, and compartment syndrome.

Ulnar collateral ligament injury of the elbow

Ulnar collateral ligament injuries can occur during certain activities such as overhead baseball pitching. Acute or chronic disruption and/or attenuation of the ulnar collateral ligament often result in medial elbow pain, valgus instability, neurologic deficiency, and impaired throwing performance. There are both non-surgical and surgical treatment options.

Medial knee injuries

Medial knee injuries are those to the medial side – the inside of the knee – are the most common. The medial ligament complex of the knee is composed of the superficial medial collateral ligament (sMCL), deep medial collateral ligament (dMCL), and the posterior oblique ligament (POL). These ligaments have also been called the medial collateral ligament (MCL), tibial collateral ligament, mid-third capsular ligament, and oblique fibers of the sMCL, respectively. This complex is the major stabilizer of the medial knee. Injuries to the medial side of the knee are most commonly isolated to these ligaments. A thorough understanding of the anatomy and function of the medial knee structures, along with a detailed history and physical exam, are imperative to diagnosing and treating these injuries.

Knee dislocation

A knee dislocation is a knee injury in which there is a complete disruption of the joint between the tibia and the femur. Symptoms include knee pain and instability of the knee. Complications may include injury to an artery around the knee, most commonly the artery behind the knee, or compartment syndrome.


  1. "Valgus Stress Test".
  2. Margheritini, Fabrizio. Orthopedic Sports Medicine: Principles and Practice. Elsevier. p. 327.
  3. "Valgus stress test - an overview". ScienceDirect Topics. 2011. Retrieved 2 May 2018.