Your Symptoms

The first step in diagnosing a knee condition is to take a careful history. At your initial assessment, Mr. Bird will ask some detailed questions regarding your symptoms. The following section highlights the main areas of questioning. Prior to seeing Mr. Bird in outpatients, it may be useful to consider how many of these symptoms apply to you.

At your initial assessment you will be asked some detailed questions regarding your symptoms.

You may be experiencing:

  • PAIN


  • How did the pain start?
    • Sudden, after a specific event
    • Gradual, over a period of time
  • Where is the pain located? – This is very important –
    • Front of the knee (e.g. just below or behind the knee cap)
    • To either side (medial or lateral)
    • Back of the knee
    • The whole knee
  • How would you describe the pain? –
    • Sharp
    • Dull
    • Burning / tingling
  • When does pain occur?
    • On activity (What activities give you pain? How far can you walk before the pain comes on?)
    • At rest
    • At night (Does pain disrupt your sleep)
  • How long does the pain last?
    • Constant
    • Comes and goes
  • Does anything relieve the pain?
    • Painkillers (what are you taking, and how often)
    • Rest
    • Movement
  • What impact does the pain have on your life?
    • Does the pain feel manageable?
    • How is it affecting your day-to-day life?
    • Is the pain getting better, getting worse or staying the same


  • When did the swelling start?
    • Immediately after an event
    • Delayed after an event
    • Gradually over a long period of time
  • Are any other joints swollen?
  • Does the knee feel hot? Do you have a fever and feel generally unwell?
  • Where is the swelling located
    • The whole knee
    • A specific location on the knee


This is when you can’t straighten your knee.

  • Did locking occur suddenly after injury/
  • Does the locking come and go?
  • Does it feel as if there is a loose body in your knee?


  • Does your knee appear to ‘buckle’ when walking or running in a straight line?
  •  Does your knee give way when you are turning corners?
  •  Do you feel that you cannot trust your knee to keep you stable when you perform certain movements?


  • Does your knee only move with difficulty?
  • When does this occur – in the morning getting out of bed, or after sitting still for some time?