Varus Test

Orthopedic Exam / Special Tests for Physical Therapy: KNEE

Varus Stress Test of the Knee:

Genu Varum (aka bow-leggedness, bandiness, bandy-leg, and tibia vara), is a physical deformity marked by (outward) bowing of the lower leg in relation to the thigh, giving the appearance of an archer’s bow. Usually medial angulation of both femur and tibia is involved.


If a child is sickly, either with rickets or any other ailment that prevents ossification of the bones, or is improperly fed, the bowed condition may persist. Thus the chief cause of this deformity is rickets. Skeletal problems, infection, and tumors can also affect the growth of the leg, sometimes giving rise to a one-sided bow-leggedness. The remaining causes are occupational, especially among jockeys, and from physical trauma, the condition being very likely to supervene after accidents involving the condyles of the femur.

Varus Test of the Knee:


  • Testing for the integrity of the structures that prevent lateral instability at the knee (lateral collateral ligament, joint capsule, cruciate ligaments).

Video Demo Instructions, Procedure, Positive Test:

Varus Test of the Knee:  Video Demo (Procedure below)

Varus Stress Test of the Knee: PROCEDURE:

• Patient is supine with the affected knee in full extension.
• Therapist stabilizes the affected leg in slight external rotation with one hand on the lateral malleolus.
• Therapist places their other hand on the medial aspect of the knee.
• Therapist applies a laterally directed (a varus) stress on the medial knee.
• Flex their knee to 30 degrees and apply the same pressure on the lateral side to isolate the lateral collateral ligament.

Varus Stress Test of the Knee: Positive Sign:

  • Presence of pain and hypermobility at the lateral aspect of the knee