Clinical assessment of asymptomatic knees: comparison of men and women.
Two hundred ten adults, 100 women and 110 men, were recruited on the condition of always having asymptomatic knee joints. These recruits were initially solicited by newspaper advertisement. The women were recruited in 3 weeks, but additional efforts and 3 months were necessary to assemble the group of men. The volunteers underwent a uniform comprehensive medical history questionnaire, physical examination, and plain film radiographs. The data collected were subjected to computerization and statistical analysis. Although these subjects were always asymptomatic, only 4.5% of 200 women's knees and 21% of 220 men's knees had no "positive" physical findings. The findings of hypermobile patella, patellar crepitus, and lateral patellar position on Merchant x-ray view were common. Findings not present or infrequent in these asymptomatic subjects and potentially pathological were patellar J-sign, decreased range of motion, asymmetrical ligamentous laxity, McMurray's sign, compartmental crepitus, and severe degenerative arthritis or loose bodies on radiograph. The findings in women were different from those observed in men. This gender-specific information should be helpful in patient management but also useful and timely for establishing practice guidelines, treatment algorithms, and outcome study instruments.
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