Musculoskeletal problems in children are common (estimated at 1 in 8 children); causes range from benign (e.g., hypermobility) to serious (e.g., inflammatory arthritis, neuromuscular causes) or life threatening (e.g., leukaemia, cancer, infection or non-accidental injury).
Considering Tuberculosis and infections in endemic areas is important (e.g., Rheumatic Fever, Brucellosis, Chikungunya, Human Immunodeficiency Virus).
A thorough history and examination are essential to differentiate 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 physical examination, why and how 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’ (such as 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, to help you apply your knowledge in real-life scenarios.
More information about clinical assessment in adults (GALS and REMS) are available: Arthritis Research UK.
Information about pGALS is also available from Arthritis Research UK.
We provide resources including Top Tips for you to access and download.