Apley's Test

Apley tests are used to assess knee joint mobility and identify injuries. Learn about the procedure, benefits, and limitations in this guide.

By Bernard Ramirez on May 15, 2024.

Fact Checked by Ericka Pingol.

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What is an Apley's Test?

In orthopedic medicine, is a diagnostic tool that evaluates the integrity of the meniscus in the knee joint. The test is named after British orthopedic surgeon Dr. Alan Graham Apley, who introduced it in 1947.

The purpose of Apley's test is to identify meniscus tears in patients. Meniscus is a portion of cartilage that serves as a stress absorber between the femur and tibia in the knee joint. Meniscus tears can result in knee discomfort, swelling, and restricted motion in the knee.

During the examination, the patient lies on their stomach with the injured leg flexed at 90 degrees. The medical professional will then put their knee over the patient's foot and rotate the tibia internally and externally while pressing down on the heel. Both knee flexion and extension are used throughout the exam.

The medical professional assesses signs of discomfort, clicking or popping sounds, and mobility restrictions during the test. A ligamentous or meniscal tear may be present if the patient feels any pain or discomfort while performing the exam. A meniscal tear may be present if a popping or clicking sound can be heard. A restricted range of motion during the test may indicate an issue with joint flexibility or mobility.

To effectively diagnose issues with the knee joint, orthopedic professionals and doctors might use Apley's test. The diagnosis may still need to be confirmed by further imaging tests, including an MRI or X-rays, as it is not a conclusive diagnostic.

Apley's test is a simple, non-invasive, and efficient method of assessing knee joint disorders. It aids medical professionals in making a more precise diagnosis and creating a suitable treatment plan to help patients recover after sustaining an injury or illness.

Have a look at this video to see how to perform the Apley's Test

Printable Apley's Test

Download this Apley's Test assess knee joint mobility

How does this Apley Test work?

The Apley test is a physical examination procedure to determine if the knee joint has meniscus tears or other ligament damage. On an examination table, the patient will lie face down in a prone position with their knee flexed to a 90-degree angle. Here are the steps involved in performing the Apley test:

  1. Have the patient flex their knee to 90 degrees while lying face down on the examination table.
  2. The medical professional will then place one hand over the knee joint and the other over the patient's foot, applying downward pressure.
  3. After that, the medical professional will continue to apply downward pressure on the knee joint while internally and externally rotating the patient's foot.
  4. The examiner will check for discomfort, popping, clicking, and limits in range of motion.
  5. After evaluating internal and external rotation, the examiner will repeat the test with the foot pointed inward and outward.
  6. The examiner will assess differences by contrasting the test results with a healthy knee.
  7. Additional diagnostic imaging, such as an MRI, may be required to confirm the diagnosis if there is discomfort, clicking, or popping.


The Apley test, a physical examination procedure used to evaluate the integrity of the knee joint, yields data that are then translated using Apley's Scoring System. Clinicians can identify meniscus tears, ligament damage, and other knee joint abnormalities using Apley’s Scoring.

The Apley's Scoring is based on the presence or absence of pain, range of motion, and other physical findings. Three categories make up the scoring system, including:

  • Rotation

The ability of the patient to twist their foot inward and outward while keeping downward pressure on the knee joint is evaluated in this category. The medical professional assigns a score based on the degree of rotation and the presence or absence of pain or other symptoms.

  • Distraction

The ability of the patient to draw their knees apart while applying downward pressure to their foot is evaluated in this category by the assessor. Based on the level of distraction and the existence or absence of pain or other symptoms, the examiner provides a score.

  • Compression

In this category, the medical professional evaluate the patient's capacity to sustain inward or outward foot rotation while compressing the knee joint. The examiner provides a score based on the degree of compression and the presence or absence of pain or other symptoms.

The scores for each category range from 0 to 3, with 0 representing no pain or other symptoms and 3 representing severe pain or other significant findings. The sum of the scores from each category is then used to determine the final score. Scores between 0 and 3 are normal, whereas those over 4 indicate knee joint injury.

In summary, Apley's scoring system is valuable for deciphering the Apley test findings and identifying knee joint problems. The system considers the presence or absence of pain, range of motion, and other physical results during the test, enabling physicians to diagnose more accurately and create a suitable treatment plan.

Apley's example (sample)

Apley's test is a clinical maneuver used to assess meniscal tears in the knee joint. Apley's test is a simple and non-invasive diagnostic tool that healthcare providers can easily perform to help identify knee injuries and plan appropriate treatments. We’ve included a sample that will provide a detailed guide on how to perform Apley's test, including proper positioning and techniques. We hope this will be a helpful resource for healthcare providers seeking to improve their diagnostic skills and provide better care for patients with knee injuries.

Download this Apley's Test Example (Sample) here:

Apley's example (sample)

When to use these Apley's assessments?

The Apley's tests, commonly referred to as Apley's assessments, are a set of physical examination procedures used to assess the integrity of the knee joint. These tests are often used in orthopedics and sports medicine to identify injuries and gauge patient recovery following care. Following are some instances in which Apley's evaluations might be applied:

Meniscus Injuries

Apley's distraction test and Apley's compression test can be used to diagnose meniscus injuries in the knee. These tests involve applying pressure and rotation to the knee joint to evaluate for pain, clicking, or other signs of injury.

Ligament Injuries

Apley's test can be used to identify knee ligament problems such as a ruptured ACL or MCL. To assess for ligament laxity, the tibia bone is subjected to a forward or backward strain during the anterior drawer and posterior drawer tests while the femur is stabilized.

Knee  Joint Stability

The stability of the knee joint can also be evaluated using Apley's test following an accident or surgery. To look for any abnormal movement, the pivot shift test and the valgus stress test apply a particular force to the knee joint.

Patellofemoral Pain

The patellofemoral pain syndrome, a prevalent cause of knee discomfort in athletes, may also be identified using Apley's tests. Applying pressure to the patella as the patient contracts their quadriceps is known as Clarke's sign test, and it is used to detect any pain or discomfort.

Knee Arthritis

The degree of knee arthritis can be determined using Apley's tests. During the McMurray test, the knee joint is rotated while pressure is applied to the meniscus to check for discomfort and crepitus, which is a crunching or popping sound.

Benefits of these free Apleys Test Templates

The Apley test is used to assess the knee joint's structural integrity. Online resources offer free Apley test templates that medical practitioners can use to administer the exam and record its outcomes. Using free Apley test templates has the following advantages:


Free Apley test templates offer a defined procedure for carrying out the test and recording the findings, assuring uniformity across healthcare practitioners.


Apley test templates can save time by giving the test findings a standardized framework to be recorded in, minimizing the need for manual documentation.


Apley test templates can ensure that all required test steps are carried out and recorded, reducing the risk of inaccuracies or omissions.


Healthcare professionals may quickly acquire free Apley test templates online, regardless of their location or practice environment.


Apley test templates, which offer a clear and simple record of the test's results, can make it easier for healthcare professionals to communicate with one another.


Free Apley test templates provide healthcare professionals who want to use the Apley test in their practice an affordable alternative to purchasing costly software or equipment.

In summary, free Apley test templates offer several advantages for healthcare professionals that utilize the Apley test in their work. Apley test templates can assist healthcare professionals in giving their patients with knee injuries or conditions high-quality care by standardizing the test, enhancing speed and accuracy, and fostering accessibility and communication.

Why use this Apley's Test app?

The Apley's Test app offered by Carepatron is a helpful tool for healthcare professionals who need to evaluate knee joint pain and mobility. This app makes it easy for healthcare providers to perform the Apley's Test accurately and efficiently, saving time and improving patient care.

Carepatron is the best place to use this type of app for several reasons. Firstly, Carepatron is a reputable healthcare technology provider with a track record of developing high-quality healthcare apps. The Apley's Test app is just one example of the many innovative apps that Carepatron has developed to streamline healthcare workflows and improve patient outcomes.

In addition to the quality of the app, Carepatron provides exceptional customer support to its users. The company has a team of knowledgeable professionals available to answer any questions or concerns that users may have. This level of support ensures that healthcare providers can use the app with confidence and ease.

Furthermore, Carepatron places a strong emphasis on data privacy and security. The Apley's Test app is fully compliant with all relevant data privacy laws and regulations, ensuring that patient data is kept safe and secure.

Overall, healthcare providers using the Apley's Test app from Carepatron can expect a user-friendly experience that enables them to deliver better patient care. With its focus on innovation, customer support, and data security, Carepatron is the best place to use this type of app.

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Who created Apley's Test?
Who created Apley's Test?

Commonly asked questions

Who created Apley's Test?

Dr. Alan Graham Apley, an orthopedic surgeon, developed Apley's test (1914–1996). He was a distinguished orthopedic surgeon from the United Kingdom who also wrote books. He is well recognized for his work on meniscal injuries and their treatment in knee surgery.

How to use Apley’s Test?

The patient is placed in the prone position for Apley's test, which involves applying downward pressure to the foot and rotating the leg both internally and externally to check for meniscal tears.

How to score Apley's Test?

The Apley test has no set criteria for scoring. The test is deemed positive if the patient feels discomfort or clicking in the knee during the movement, which might point to a meniscal rupture. A meniscal tear is less likely to occur if the test is negative, although additional diagnostic testing may be required to confirm or rule out the occurrence of a tear.

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