Knee pain caused by sport is a common cause of rheumatic symptoms. Clinical diagnosis is frequently difficult and an attempt was therefore made to determine whether particular symptoms and signs were sufficiently characteristic in 129 patients to enable easier recognition of knee disorders. Strict criteria for arthrography and arthroscopy included classical features of internal derangement or disabling pain. Arthrograms were performed in 39 and arthroscopy in 30, revealing good concordance for meniscal tears but none for cruciate tears. Classical histories and signs were often absent from patients with meniscal and cruciate tears. Patellar pain was a prominent symptom of 58 (45%). Questionnaires one year after assessment were returned by 91 (70%). Many patients had persistent symptoms or were unable to resume their sports. The unreliability of clinical diagnosis suggests that more frequent arthroscopic examinations could have increased the recognition of meniscal and cruciate tears.
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