Knee injuries: acute management


Acute knee injuries are common, especially in sports that involve twisting movements and sudden changes of direction such as netball, football, basketball and skiing.

These injuries can cause a significant cost to health and ACC services, as well as causing significant morbidity. There are a number of structures which can be injured and diagnosing the cause of a knee problem can be clinically challenging. It is important to be able to distinguish between patients presenting with a relatively minor soft tissue injury and those with a more significant ligamentous, bony or cartilaginous problem.

This second group are likely to require specialist assessment, imaging or possibly surgical management. 

Objectives of this course:

  • To identify the important features of history that help identify the correct diagnosis of a knee injury.
  • To understand the key features in the clinical examination of an acute knee.
  • To introduce the Ottawa knee rules as a tool for clinical decision making with regards to imaging of an acute knee injury.
  • To describe the initial steps of acute knee management.


Once you have completed this short course and quiz, please click 'submit' where you will be taken to the results page. From here you can print your certificate for 1 Continuing Professional Development (CPD) hour.


This content was created by Dr Helen Joyce Fulcher MBChB, DipPaed, PGCertHSc (Sports Med), in June 2016.

The material is presented by the Goodfellow Unit (GFU), an accredited continuing medical education/ continuing professional development (CME/CPD) provider for the Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners and functions under a tripartite agreement between the Goodfellow Foundation, the College and the University of Auckland. The Unit is located within the Department of General Practice and Primary Health Care, and within the School of Population Health.


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