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Patellar Apprehension Test

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Other Names

Patellar Apprehension Test
Demonstration of the moving patella apprehension test[1]
  • Moving Patellar Apprehension Test
  • Fairbanks patellar apprehension test
  • Fairbanks Apprehension Test


  • Evaluate the Patella as a cause of knee pain


  • The patient is supine
  • The affected knee is fully extended
  • In the first part, the examiner puts lateral pressure on the patella
  • The leg is returned to neutral position in extension
  • In the second part, the examiner applies medial pressure on the patella
  • Positive test
    • Apprehension
    • Pain

Moving Patellar Apprehension Test

  • Performed similar to the medial/lateral apprehension test
  • When applying lateral pressure, the knee is actively/passively flexed while maintaining pressure
  • When applying medial pressure, the knee is actively/passively flexed while maintaining pressure



Patellar Instability

  • Ahmad et al[2]
    • Sensitivity: 100%
    • Specificity: 88.4%

See Also


  1. Halabchi, Farzin, et al. "Patellofemoral pain in athletes: clinical perspectives." Open access journal of sports medicine (2017): 189-203.
  2. Ahmad CS, McCarthy M, Gomez JA, Shubin Stein BE. The moving patellar apprehension test for lateral patellar instability. Am J Sports Med. 2009 Apr;37(4): 791-6. Epub 2009 Feb 3
Created by:
John Kiel on 7 August 2019 12:08:32
Last edited:
4 December 2023 18:44:10