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Approach to Clinical Assessment

Musculoskeletal problems in children are common (estimated at 1 in 8), and the cause can range from the benign (e.g. hypermobility) to the serious (e.g. inflammatory arthritis, neuromuscular causes) or life threatening (e.g. leukaemia, cancer, infection or non-accidental injury)

A thorough history and examination are essential to differentiate between the various causes, and often play a far more important role than investigations

In this module, we describe the approach to clinical history taking and examination, why this differs from clinical assessment in adult patients, important features such as differentiating between inflammatory and mechanical problems, when to suspect inflammatory disease and red flags to warrant concern.

We describe normal variants’, (knock-knees, and flat feet), normal development and gait, and hypermobility. We describe when to be concerned and when to refer to a specialist. 

You will also find some cases, which should help you apply the knowledge in real-life scenarios.

More information about clinical assessment in adults (GALS and REMS) are available from Arthritis Research UK.

Information about pGALS is also available from Arthritis Research UK.

There are lots of resources available and the Top Tips series are for you to access and download.


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