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Upper limb disorders 

Upper limb disorders
Chapter:
Upper limb disorders
Author(s):

Michael Hutson

, Michael Yelland

, and David Rabago

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780199674107.003.0033
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date: 26 October 2020

The upper limb is a veritable treasure trove for neuromusculoskeletal pathology. Additionally, in terms of body posture and ‘posturing’, the upper limb acts as a barometer for the stresses and strains that are endemic in the twenty-first century in both the developed and underprivileged worlds. The recognition that the hand acts as a diagnostic window for many systemic medical conditions and illnesses is an essential component of medical school training. The nails, in particular, are a flag for many types of pathology. Rheumatological and neurovascular conditions may be detected by inspection of the hand. Swellings, deformities, and contractures are often obvious to casual inspection. Both distress and impairment of function may be manifest in patients by observing resting posture and the expressive use (or otherwise) of the hand and upper limb at interview, when undressing and dressing, and during formal examination.

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