Paediatric Musculoskeletal Examination

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A consensus approach to the MSK examination in children was developed by Foster et al in 2011.[1] The open access consensus document is reuploaded in the word document below, but has also been copied into bottoms of the relevant regional examination pages.

General Principles


  • Introduction of assessor to child and parent / carer
  • Explanation of what to be examined, Gain verbal consent to examine
  • Be aware of normal variants in leg alignment, joint range, gait, developmental milestones

Look for:

  • Swellings, Rashes , Muscle wasting , Scars
  • Deformity / Dysmorphism / Discomfort (nonverbal) / “Disproportions”

Feel for:

  • Temperature, Swelling, Tenderness


  • Full range of movement – active and passive
  • Restriction – mild, moderate or severe

Function and measure

  • Functional assessment of joint / anatomic region to include power of muscles and stability
  • Measurement of height / leg length

Additional Options pending clinical scenario

See Also


  1. Foster et al.. Pediatric regional examination of the musculoskeletal system: a practice- and consensus-based approach. Arthritis care & research 2011. 63:1503-10. PMID: 21954040. DOI.