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The diagnostic value of the stump impingement reflex sign for determining anterior cruciate ligament stump impingement as a cause of knee locking

Michael R Carmont1*, Rob E Gilbert1, Christopher Marquis1, Omer Mei-Dan2 and Dai Rees1

Author Affiliations

1 Sports Injury Surgery, The Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Hospital, Oswestry, Shropshire SY10 7AG, UK

2 Department of Orthopedics, Division of Sports Medicine and Hip Preservation, University of Colorado, Denver, Colorado, USA

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Sports Medicine, Arthroscopy, Rehabilitation, Therapy & Technology 2012, 4:29  doi:10.1186/1758-2555-4-29

Published: 28 August 2012



The stump impingement reflex is a subtle bounce to the knee thought to be caused by hamstring contraction when the knee is brought into extension and the torn ACL stump impinges between the distal femur and the tibial plateau. We have studied the diagnostic value of this sign.


From Feb 2008-Feb 2009, we audited 30 patients who underwent urgent arthroscopy for acutely locked knees. The presence of the stump impingement reflex prior to surgery was compared with the intra-operative findings. The diagnostic values of the stump impingement sign were found to be: Sensitivity 58%, Specificity 81%, Positive predictive value 70%, Negative predictive value 72% and Accuracy 71%.


We believe that the stump impingement reflex is a specific sign for ACL stump impingement as a cause of knee locking. We recommend close inspection for this sign when examining locked knees.