Balanced Body Soft Tissue & Spine | Ankeny, Iowa Chiropractor Balanced Body Soft Tissue & Spine | Ankeny, Iowa Chiropractor

At Home Assessments: The Knee

Although the knee is a pretty simple joint, with its main two actions being to bend and straighten, it can be a huge pain generator. Unfortunately, when people with knee pain aren’t assessed and diagnosed properly they can finish treatments or procedures with no better outcomes than doing nothing. Let’s jump to the assessments first and explain them afterwards.

The Assessments

Knee assessment begins with passive knee flexion. Perform the Knee Flexion Test on anyone with knee symptoms. If you have a knee issue, it may be hard to do these on your own so grab a friend to help.

  1. Lie down on your back without your shoes on.
  2. Bring the hip to 90 degrees and let your leg relax down towards your buttocks.
  3. If you’re able to on your own, bend your knee and pull your heel towards your butt until it touches. This should be easy and pain-free. If you can’t perform this on your own ask a friend to help.
  4. Regardless of  how you test it, if you’re unable to get your heel to touch the butt, this position produces symptoms or requires high force you can’t pass this test.









If can you pass the first test, move on to the Quadriceps Length Test

  1. Lie down on your stomach with legs flat and grab a friend to help.
  2. Bend your knee and have the your friend gently push your heel towards your buttocks. Again, this should be easy, pain-free and with minimal force.
  3. If you’re able to perform step 2 easily then keep your heel against your buttocks and gently lift the knee off the floor. You should find 2″ of extra slack before reaching full range of motion in a healthy knee and quadriceps.  If you have to stop at step 2 or if this position produces symptoms or requires a high degree of force, you have failed the test.









So how’d you do? The most common conditions that will limit these tests and produce symptoms include adhesion surrounding the knee joint or in the thigh and internal joint derangement (aka dysfunction like meniscus or degeneration). In either case you should have a reduced range and/or symptoms with testing at least 1 of these assessments.

Adhesion, which acts like glue between soft tissue knee structures, will create an early stop in range of motion as these external structures get stretched to their full (yet limited) range. Adhesion is the primary result of overuse and is commonly misdiagnosed or chalked up to ‘old age’. Fixing the adhesion restores range of motion, increases strength, and eliminates pain. This adhesion on the outside of the joint can act like a vice grip on the internal structures of the knee joint and create knee symptoms with testing. If left untreated, this external pressure will degrade the internal joint cushion at a much faster rate putting you on the fast track to osteoarthritis/degeneration and eventually a knee replacement.  If your doctor has told you have arthritis there is a very high chance you also have adhesion!

On the other hand, if you passed these tests easy breezy then you probably actually don’t have a knee issue at all *gasp*.  If you have knee pain (and you’re not some geek like me that would do test these without symptoms) then you should check out our two previous blogs on assessments for hip pain and low back pain or wait until next week for our ankle pain assessments to see what other areas of your body may be putting undue pressure on the knee.

If you been struggling knee pain and want to avoid unnecessary knee surgery, cortisone shots or endless physical therapy please call our office at (515) 963-1641 for a complete and accurate diagnosis. Integrative Diagnosis™ is the most advanced diagnosis and treatment system for solving musculoskeletal problems.  Dr. Hommer at Balanced Body Soft Tissue & Spine is the only certified Integrative Diagnosis™ provider in central Iowa for treating chronic muscle, nerve, and joint problems.