All palpable bony parts of the knee are situated anteriorly. Palpation is performed with the subject in the supine lying position. The knee is either bent to a right angle or fully extended, depending on the palpated structure.
In a flexed position of the knee, the patella can easily be outlined. In this position the large joint line between tibia and femur is situated about two finger-widths below the patellar apex. The inferior part of the medial femoral condyle is easily detectable as a large spherical subcutaneous bony structure that borders the superomedial part of the joint line. The inferior part of the lateral femoral condyle forms the superior border of the lateral joint line.
Following this condyle in a lateral and posterior direction, the palpating finger encounters the salient lateral epicondyle. The flexed position is also suitable for the palpation of the bony elements of tibia and fibula. The sharp edges of the medial and lateral tibial condyles border the joint line inferiorly and are easy to locate.
The tibial tuberosity, which is found about two finger-widths below the joint line, is prolonged into the tibial crest. The head of the fibula is easily palpated on a medially rotated leg. Grabbed between thumb and index finger it can be mobilized in an anteroposterior direction.
The infracondylar tubercle (tubercle of Gerdy), which represents the insertion of the iliotibial tract, is situated on the lateral epicondyle of the tibia, about the width of one thumb below the edge and just in the middle between the tibiofibular joint line and the tibial tuberosity.
It is identified as follows: place the thumb of the contralateral hand on the tibial tuberosity and the middle finger on the tibiofibular joint. The index finger, which is slightly more proximal, then touches the tubercle.
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