This study evaluates whether the "moving patellar apprehension test" is a sensitive and specific physical examination technique for the diagnosis of patellar instability. The test was performed preoperatively and compared with the ability to dislocate the patella when examined under anesthesia in 51 patients. For a positive test in part 1, the patient orally expresses apprehension and may activate his or her quadriceps in response to apprehension. In part 2, the patient experiences no apprehension and allows free flexion and extension of the knee. When compared with the ability to dislocate the patella under anesthesia, the moving patellar apprehension test was found to have a sensitivity of 100%, a specificity of 88.4%, a positive predictive value of 89.2%, a negative predictive value of 100%, and an accuracy of 94.1%.
The moving patellar apprehension test is an accurate physical examination technique that, when performed and interpreted correctly, is highly sensitive and specific for patellar instability.
The American Journal of Sports Medicine, 2009, 37, 791-796