For those nurses involved in joint examination as part of their role (e.g., emergency nurse practitioners or clinical nurse specialists) we provide information about basic examination (pGALS paediatric Gait, Arms, Legs and Spine). pGALS helps to identify abnormal joints or regions and we would recommend pGALS as part of a general assessment and especially when a child complains of a musculoskeletal problem, is limping or there is a change in function (play, sport, daily activities).
More information about how to perform pGALS is given and video links are available.
A (free) pGALS app is available with information on how to perform pGALS, what to look for and examples of abnormalities. Check out the pGALS app on the Apple store or Google Play.
Young children often have a short attention span ! - careful observation and play are helpful ways to aid joint assessment. The following videos demonstrate these points well.
A short video demonstrates the use of play to aid observations of joint swelling, muscle wasting and joint restriction.
A further short video demonstrating the nurse specialist drawing around the child's feet to enable joint assessment to be done - the child has multiple joint involvement with swollen joints, muscle wasting and joint restriction.