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Describing Bone Joint and Muscle

Descriptions of bones, joints and muscle are important to aid accurate documentation of disease involvement - at the time of diagnosis and also as part of monitoring. 

Descriptions are useful when communicating with colleagues (such as telephone advice).

We provide examples relevant to musculoskeletal disease

Some useful terms 

  • Arthritis - refers to inflammation of joint(s) and is typified by pain, swelling, warmth, tenderness and limited movement.
  • Arthralgia - refers to painful joints without overt swelling.
  • Myalgia - refers to muscle pain but usually without tenderness or weakness.
  • Myositis - refers to muscle pain and tenderness, often with weakness.
  • Enthesitis - refers to inflammation at sites of insertion of tendon, muscle or fascia. Common sites of enthesitis are shown below; 
  • Effusion - refers to swelling of a synovial joint 
  • Joint count - the number of joints that are swollen or have restricted range of movement or both. A homunculus can be used in clinical practice or as part of clinical trials to mark swollen joints or restricted joints. An example is given below;

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