Validation of the Thessaly test for detecting meniscal tears in anterior cruciate deficient knees

Knee. 2010 Jun;17(3):221-3. doi: 10.1016/j.knee.2009.08.007. Epub 2009 Sep 13.


Meniscal injuries are frequently associated with anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears. Clinical tests that are useful for detecting meniscal tears may not be valid in this setting. The Thessaly test, a newly described dynamic clinical examination, has been shown to have a very high diagnostic accuracy for detecting meniscal tears. This study evaluates the accuracy of the Thessaly test in patients with combined ACL and meniscus injuries. We examined eighty patients with ACL deficiency for meniscal injuries using the Thessaly test (at 20 degrees of knee flexion), the lateral and medial joint line tenderness tests, and the McMurray test. Examiners were blinded to the MRI report on the conditions of the menisci. All patients underwent arthroscopic ACL reconstruction during which the menisci were evaluated by direct vision and probing. During the Thessaly test, six patients developed severe pain and could not complete the test. Sensitivity, specificity, likelihood ratios and predictive values were calculated for all tests. The Thessaly test had a sensitivity of 79%, specificity of 40%, positive predictive value of 56%, negative predictive value of 66%, positive likelihood ratio of 1.33, negative likelihood ratio of 0.51%, and overall accuracy of 60%. We concluded that the Thesally test has a low specificity in patients with combined ACL and meniscal injuries and can not be recommended as a diagnostic test in this setting.

Publication types

  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries*
  • Arthroscopy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Knee Injuries / diagnosis*
  • Likelihood Functions
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Physical Examination / methods*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Range of Motion, Articular
  • Tibial Meniscus Injuries*
  • Young Adult