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Patellar Glide Test

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Other Names

Demonstration of the patellar glide test[1]
Illustration of the patellar glide test with corresponding scoring
  • Passive Patellar Glide Test
  • Apprehensive Test
  • Fairbank's Sign
  • Passive Patellar Glide
  • Sage Sign


  • Evaluate the Patella as a contributor to anterior knee pain


  • The patient is supine, knee in 30 flexion over a towel roll
  • Physician uses thumbs to passively glide patella medially
  • They should then passively move the thumb laterally
    • Sometimes this is termed 'fairbanks sign' or 'apprehensive test'
  • It is important that the degree of patella tilt is kept constant to avoid any rotation
  • Positive test
    • Degree of medial/ lateral mobility is estimated (can be broken into so-called quadrants)
    • Medial: < 1 quadrant (restricted), 2 (normal), > 3-4 (exessive)
    • Lateral:



  • Unknown

See Also


  1. Manske, Robert C., and George J. Davies. "Examination of the patellofemoral joint." International journal of sports physical therapy 11.6 (2016): 831.
Created by:
John Kiel on 16 February 2021 18:05:50
Last edited:
25 April 2023 17:22:47