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Principles of clinical examination in children 

Principles of clinical examination in children
Principles of clinical examination in children
Oxford Textbook of Rheumatology (4 ed.)

Sharmila Jandial

and Helen Foster

Previous versions of this chapter are available. To view earlier versions of this chapter view the full site here.

The clinical examination of children and adolescents is an essential component of assessment, facilitates appropriate interpretation of investigations and is integral to the process of making a diagnosis. The clinical assessment of children and young people differs from that of adults, requiring greater reliance on physical examination as the history may be vague and illocalized and requires knowledge of normal musculoskeletal development, normal motor milestones and different patterns of clinical presentations across the ages. The interpretation of clinical findings needs to be in the context of the whole child and the clinical presentation. The degree of expertise required in clinical skills varies with the clinical practice of the examiner and ranges from the basic screening assessment to a more detailed examination of joints, muscles and anatomical regions. The evidence base for clinical assessment in children and young people is accruing and undoubtedly, competent clinical skills requires learning to be embedded in core child health teaching and assessment starting at medical school and reinforced in postgraduate training.

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