Background: Nowadays, an increasing number of patients expect their physician to provide a measureable and, therefore, comparable treatment effect that quantifies success or failure of the applied therapy. Unfortunately, different knee classification schemes applied to the same patient may provide diverging results. Therefore, the objective of this paper was to present recommendations to clinicians for a meaningful outcome assessment of their patients.
Methods: Out of 39 knee evaluation systems available in the literature, we performed an elimination process based on the criteria (1) widespread use, (2) available reference values and (3) publication of at least one validation study.
Results: Six clinical scores were detected which met the inclusion criteria. Owing to authors' recommendations and personal opinion the International Knee Documentation Committee (IKDC) Score, the Knee Injury and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score (KOOS) and the Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Arthritis Index (WOMAC) were identified to be the most suitable outcome measures that enable patients a realistic assessment of their treatment effect compared with individuals in similar life situations.
Conclusion: To our opinion the IKDC should be applied to athletic patients suffering from post-traumatic knee symptoms who are younger than 50 years. For non-athletes aged 50 years and older the WOMAC is considered suitable whereas the KOOS is recommended to all other patients with knee disorders.