Validity of the McMurray's Test and Modified Versions of the Test: A Systematic Literature Review

J Man Manip Ther. 2009;17(1):22-35. doi: 10.1179/106698109790818250.


Clinical assessment of meniscal pathology in the knee has proven difficult due to the wide number of tests available and variations in their interpretation and application. The purpose of this paper was to assess the literature investigating the validity and diagnostic accuracy of the McMurray's test (and modifications) for determining meniscal pathology of the knee so that conclusions could be drawn regarding its clinical usefulness as a test. Electronic databases (Medline, CINhAL, AMED, SPORTSDiscus, and SCOPUS) were searched from March 1980 to May 2008. In addition, cited references of relevant articles were examined. Studies were included for analysis if they compared the McMurray's test with a gold standard of knee arthroscopy or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Eleven studies met the inclusion criteria. Collectively, these studies indicate that there is little consensus in the reported measures of validity of the McMurray's test and that this is mostly due to limitations in the methodological quality of the studies that were assessed. Methodological scores on the STARD (Standards for Reporting of Diagnostic Accuracy) yielded scores from 10/25 to 20/25. Generally, the McMurray's test has relatively high specificity and low sensitivity. The studies that compared the diagnostic accuracy of the McMurray's test with that of modified versions of the test showed enhanced diagnostic accuracy for the modified tests. This review identified that the McMurray's test is of limited clinical value due to relatively low sensitivity, with modified tests (associated with the traditional McMurray's test) having higher diagnostic accuracy and thus these may be more useful clinically.

Keywords: Knee; McMurray's; Meniscal; Reliability; Sensitivity; Specificity; Testing; Validity.