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For more information, go to www.arthritisresearchuk.org

Examination of the elbow video

Look

Begin with looking at the patient from the front for the normal carrying angle, and from the side for any flexion deformity. The posterior aspect of the elbow is inspected for obvious scars, swellings, rashes or signs of olecranon bursitis, or rheumatoid nodules or psoriatic plaques and, again, the medial aspect should also be inspected. Temperature is assessed by comparing adjacent sites.

Feel

The olecranon process, lateral and medial epicondyles should be palpated for tenderness.

Move

Full extension and full flexion should be assessed actively along with pronation and supination. These should also be assessed passively while holding the joint and feeling for crepitus. Here, excessive extension, i.e. hypermobility, may easily be detected. During pronation and supination the radial head and joint line can be easily identified.

Function

Function can be assessed by asking the patient’s ability to perform a relevant task.

Student handbook

Download 'Clinical assessment of the musculoskeletal system: a guide for medical students and healthcare professionals'
For more information, go to www.arthritisresearchuk.org.
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