It has an incredibly wide range of motion, due to the complex structures of the shoulder girdle.
Palpate the acriomoclavicular joint, the acromion, the scapular spine, and the bicipital groove.
Palpate the muscles about the shoulder.
Routinely test flexion, extension and abduction.
If indicated (pain, other complaints), check internal and external rotation, and adduction.
ACTIVE AND PASSIVE RANGE OF MOTION
Observe the patient abducting, flexing and extending their shoulder.
Evaluate external rotation by having the patient place their hand behind the head.
Evaluate internal rotation by asking the person to touch his fingers at the back.
Range of Motion
Abduction (150 degrees)
Forward flexion (180 degrees)
Extension (45 degrees)
External Rotation (90 degrees), elbow at 90 degrees
With arm comfortably at side
With arm at 90 degrees abduction
Internal rotation (90)
The Neer impingement sign:
This maneuver narrows the space between the acromion and the humeral head. If a patient has impingement of a rotator cuff tendon (or a tear), they will usually have increased pain with this test.
The drop test:
Gently abduct the arm above ninety degrees, if pain allows. Ask the patient to maintain the arm in the this position, warn the patient and then drop the arm. In a patient with a rotator cuff tear, they will often not be able to maintain the arm's position and it will fall.
A - Olecranon
B - Lateral Epicondyle
Inspect the elbows with the arm in a neutral, anatomic position
Be able to palpate the lateral and medial epicondyles, and the olecranon process.
RANGE OF MOTION
Flex and extend, and supinate and pronate.
Normal elbow range of motion
Extension: 0 degrees
Flexion: 150 degrees
Pronation: 70 degrees
Supination: 90 degrees
HAND AND WRIST
A - Distal wrist crease
B - Thenar eminence
C - Hypothenar eminence
A - Carpometacarpal joint
B - Metacarpophalangeal joints
C - Proximal interphalangeal joints
D - Distal interphalangeal joints
E - Interphalangeal joint of thumb
At rest, the fingers will be slightly flexed and almost in parallel.
Inspect the dorsum of the hand and wrist for swelling.
Inspect the palmar expect for thenar or hypthenar wasting.
Inspect each joint for swelling, discoloration and deformity.
Palpate the radial and ulnar styloid, and the radiocarpal and radioulnar joints.
Palpate the CMC joint, and the lateral and medial aspects of each MCP, PIP and DIP joint.
The joints of the wrist and hand are commonly affected in osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Other common conditions affecting the hand and wrist are ganglion cysts and Dupuytren's contractures
In osteoarthritis palpation will reveal tenderness and bony growths (osteophytes) that enlarge the joints - particularly the DIP and PIP joints. These are called Heberden's nodes and Bouchard's nodes, respectively
In rheumatoid arthritis the synovium of the joint is inflamed, leading to tenderness and bogginess about the joint, in addition to warmth and redness.
Later in the course of the disease, the bony and ligamentous structures supporting the joint are damaged, and joint deformity results.
Ganglion cysts are common, and arise from the synovium. There are frequently found on the dorsum of the wrist, but can arise from the MCP and other joints as well. They only require treatment if they are painful.
Dupuytren's contracture is a localized thickening of the palmar fascia, most frequently affecting the fascia overlying the 4 th and 5 th metacarpals. It can lead to hand contracture, deformity and decreased function.
RANGE OF MOTION
Assess pronation and supination of the forearm
Assess flexion, extension, abduction and adduction of the wrist.
Assess flexion of the MCP joints with the PIP joints extended, and have the patient make a fist to assess flexion of the PIP and DIP joints, and spread the hand out to assess extension of the PIP, DIP and MCP joints.
Have the patient oppose the thumb to the small finger
Normal wrist range of motion
• Extension - 70 degrees
• Flexion- 90 degrees
• Radial deviation (abduction) - 20 degrees
• Ulnar deviation (adduction) - 55 degrees
Normal hand range of motion
• MCP hyperextension - 30 degrees
• MCP flexion - 90 degrees
• PIP and DIP extension - 0 degrees
• PIP and DIP flexion - 90 degrees
• Oppostion - thumb should touch the 5 th MCP.
Passive ROM of the hand is frequently not performed.
Test wrist flexion and extension
Opposition - have the patient touch thumb to small finger, and try to pull your finger through. (median nerve)
Key grip strength - have patient grip a thin object (piece of paper) between his thumb and the proximal phalanx of index finger, and resist you as you try to pull the object from his grasp. (median nerve, collateral ligament)
Finger abduction - have patient spread fingers out against resistance.(ulnar nerve)
Snuffbox Tenderness (Scaphoid)
Identify the "anatomic snuffbox" between the extensor pollicis longus and brevis (extending the thumb makes these structures more prominent).
Press firmly straight down with your index finger or thumb.
Any tenderness in this area is highly suggestive of scaphoid fracture.
Flexor Digitorum Superficialis Test
Hold the fingers in extension except the finger being tested.
Ask the patient to flex the finger at the proximal interphalangeal joint.
If the patient cannot flex the finger, the flexor digitorum superficialis tendon is cut or non-functional.
Flexor Digitorum Profundus Test
Hold the metacarpophalangeal and proximal interphalangeal joints of the finger being tested in extension.
Ask the patient to flex the finger at the distal interphalangeal joint.
If the patient cannot flex the finger, the flexor digitorum profundus tendon is cut or non-functional.
Phalen's Test (Median Nerve)
Ask the patient to press the backs of the hands together with the wrists fully flexed (backward praying).
Have the patient hold this position for 60 seconds and then comment on how the hands feel.
Pain, tingling, or other abnormal sensations in the thumb, index, or middle fingers strongly suggest carpal tunnel syndrome.
Tinel's Sign (Median Nerve)
Use your middle finger or a reflex hammer to tap over the carpal tunnel.
Pain, tingling, or electric sensations strongly suggest carpal tunnel syndrome.
EXAMINATION OF SPINE
Landmarks helpful in identifying spinal levels include:
• C7 and T1 - prominent spinous processes
• T7 to T8 - inferior angle of scapula typically located at this level
• L4 - an imaginary line across the tops of the iliac crests crosses L4
Examination of the spine includes inspection, palpation and range of motion. Strength testing of the spine is not a part of the typical physical examination.
Observe the patient from the back, with the back exposed. The patient could either be wearing only undergarments, or a gown that is not tied in the back.
Shoulders (left and right should be equal height)
Scapulae (left and right should be equal height)
Iliac crests (left and right should be equal height)
Hands at equal height.
Unequal heights of any of these structures might indicate scoliosis (congenital or acquired), leg-length discrepancy or spinal pathology.
Observe the patient from the side, identifying the normal cervical and lumbar concave curves, and the convex curves of the thoracic and sacral spine.
Scoliosis - curvature of spine - congenital, developmental, acquired
Note the slight curvature to this patient's spine, and note that the right scapula is raised relative to the left. The curvature is seen more clearly on the X-ray:
Lordosis - increased or "swayback" curve in lumbar area
Pregnancy, muscle imbalance, obesity
Kyphosis - increased or "humback" curve in thoracic area
Osteoporosis, posture, congenital
Palpate the spinous processes and the paraspinous musculature, assessing for tenderness, swelling, warmth, and muscle tone.
Range of motion
The examiner asks the patient to flex, extend, laterally bend and rotate (or turn) the cervical spine and the "back" (primarily the lumbar, thoracic and sacral spine). Begin from the neutral position, with the patient standing up straight (can assess range of motion of the cervical spine with the patient seated).
Cervical spine range of motion:
Flexion - 45° "Touch chin to chest"
Extension - 55° "Tilt your head back as far as you can"
Lateral bending (right and left) - 40° "Try to touch your ear to your shoulder without moving your shoulder"
Rotation (right and left) - 70° "Turn your head towards your shoulder"
Back range of motion:
Flexion - 90° "Try to touch your toes without bending your knees"
Extension - 30° "Lean back as far as you can"
Lateral bending (right and left) - 35° "Lean to your side"
Rotation (right and and left) - 30° "Twist to your side"
Examiner may need to stabilize patients pelvis to prevent rotation at the pelvis.
Extension Lateral bending Left-right rotation
Straight leg raise (SLR)
Purpose: Used to evaluate back pain that radiates into leg (sciatica). Places tension on sciatic nerve and inflamed nerve root
Technique: Patient supine, legs straight. Hold heel, and passively lift affected leg with knee straight. Talk with patient to be sure their leg muscles remain relaxed. Repeat with other leg.
Findings: Positive test is reproduction of sciatic-type pain when hip is flexed between 30° and 70°. Dorsiflexion of foot may aggravate pain. If SLR of leg opposite the affected leg causes pain in the affected leg, patient is very likely to have a ruptured disc
Can assess entire lower extremity, observing the hips, knees, ankles and feet.
Observe for symmetry, deformity and discoloration.
Can assess hip strength by watching patient rise from a chair.
Individuals needing to use their arms to push up from the chair, or who have to "rock" themselves out of the chair have muscle weakness of the proximal hip musculature.
Palpate the iliac crest and greater trochanter.
In the patient with hip pain, palpate the gluteal musculature as well as the hip and thigh musculature.
In the patient with pelvic pain, palpate the symphysis pubis, ischial tuberosities, the posterior superior iliac crest .
Range of motion:
Either active or passive. In patient with pain, active should precede passive ROM.
Flexion (with knee bent) - 120°
Flexion (with leg straight) - 90°
Extension - with patient lying on side, lying prone or standing - 15°
Abduction - 45°
Adduction - 30°
Rotation - with knee flexed to 90°
Evaluate for swelling, discoloration, deformity. Identify the landmarks about the knee.
Inspect the quadriceps muscle for atrophy. Atrophy is common in chronic knee conditions.
Evaluate for warmth, tenderness, crepitus and fluid.
Identify the tibial and femoral condyles in order to palpate the tibiofemoral joint space medially and laterally.
Palpate the patella
Palpate the popliteal space (swelling may indicate Baker's cyst )
Range of motion:
Passive or active. If patient has pain, active should proceed passive.
Flexion - 130°
Extension - 0° (neutral) to 15° (hyperextension)
The knee is a commonly injured joint, due to its lack of inherent bony stability, reliance on ligamentous structures for structural stability, and extreme forces it is subject to. There are a number of tests used to evaluate specific cartilaginous and ligamentous structures.
Presence of fluid:
Ballotement: With knee extended, apply downward pressure on the suprapatellar pouch with one hand, and with the other hand push the patella firmly down against the femur. A tapping or clicking will be felt if an effusion is present, and as you slowly release pressure, you will feel the patella "floating" upwards
Bulge sign: With knee extended, "milk" the medial aspect of the knee upward several times, then tap the lateral side of the knee, between the patella and the femoral condyle. Watch for a bulge on the medial knee as fluid returns to this region.
Purpose: evaluate the medial and collateral ligaments.
Medial collateral ligament: with the knee flexed at 30° (or in neutral position), apply a valgus stress to the knee.
Lateral collateral ligament: with the knee flexed at 30° (or in neutral position), apply a varus stress to the knee.
Compare injured to normal side.
Positive finding - pain, with evidence of joint space widening in comparison to normal side. Pain alone suggests possible strain of ligament, without disruption of the fibers.
FOOT and ANKLE
Evaluate for symmetry, deformity, discoloration.
In patients with diabetes, assess for ulcers, which can often lead to osteomyelitis (bone infection).
It is often helpful to observe the foot and ankle during weight-bearing
Evaluate for warmth, tenderness and crepitus. Palpate the achilles tendon, medial and lateral malleoli
The anterior tibiofibular ligament, along with the posterior tibiofibular ligament and the transverse tibiofibular ligamen are the structures injured in high ankle sprains
Range of Motion:
Expected ROM - neutral position of foot and ankle is with foot at 90° to leg.
Dorsiflexion - 20° "Point your toes towards nose"
Ankle joint: Plantarflexion - 45 "Point toes towards floor."
Inversion (sole points "in") - 30°
Eversion (sole points "out") - 20°
Flex and extend toes.
Dorsiflexion - patient flexes up against your hand.
Plantarflexion - patient flexes down against your hand
FABER Test (Hips/Sacroiliac Joints)
FABER stands for F lexion, AB duction, and E xternal R otation of the hip.
This test is used to distinguish hip or sacroiliac joint pathology from spine problems.
Ask the patient to lie supine on the exam table.
Place the foot of the effected side on the opposite knee (this flexes, abducts, and externally rotates the hip).
Pain in the groin area indicates a problem with the hip and not the spine.
Press down gently but firmly on the flexed knee and the opposite anterior superior iliac crest.
Pain in the sacroiliac area indicates a problem with the sacroiliac joints.
FA DIR stands for F lexion, A D duction, and In ternal R otation of the hip.