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Is musculoskeletal history and examination so different in paediatrics?

Lookup NU author(s): Emerita Professor Helen Foster


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Musculoskeletal (MSK) complaints in children and adolescents are common. The differential diagnosis is broad and based predominantly on clinical assessment. The skills both for eliciting history and for examination require understanding of the child/young person's specific emotional and cognitive developmental stage; interpretation of the findings requires knowledge of normal (and abnormal) motor and musculoskeletal growth and development. We specifically describe the different approach, unique skills and knowledge required by all clinicians who assess children and adolescents with MSK complaints; children and adolescents are not 'just little adults'. We emphasize the importance of clinical competence in ensuring that patients with juvenile idiopathic arthritis are diagnosed early and referral to specialist centres is not delayed with consequential suboptimal management and outcome. There is evidence that physician clinical skills in MSK assessment are inadequate, probably as a result of systemic deficiencies in the education process. Current and proposed solutions are discussed. © 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Foster HE, Cabral DA

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Best Practice and Research: Clinical Rheumatology

Year: 2006

Volume: 20

Issue: 2

Pages: 241-262

ISSN (print): 1521-6942

ISSN (electronic): 1532-1770

Publisher: Bailliere Tindall


DOI: 10.1016/j.berh.2005.11.001

PubMed id: 16546055


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