Musculoskeletal Examinations: Functional Tests and Imaging Techniques

function tests

Checking muscle and joint function plays an important role in orthopedics. The range of motion, muscle tension and strength are assessed. The spine and trunk, shoulder, elbow, hand and fingers, elbows, hips, knees and feet are examined. There are many different tests and the examiner will not do just about 50 each time for the knee joint, 60 for the spine or 40 for the shoulder, but will specifically decide for those who help in his suspected diagnosis. For this purpose, the doctor bends, stretches and shifts these joints in relaxed directions in several directions and presses at various points. In addition, the patient must actively move (eg, bend forward to assess spine mobility) and flex muscles in different body regions against the resistance of the examiner.

Imaging and other procedures

Bones are particularly well represented by classical X-ray examinations. For example, fractures, spinal column changes and inflammatory foci can be seen. More precise details, especially of the intervertebral disc, are provided by computed tomography (CT). On the other hand, muscles and soft tissues as well as joints can be assessed well with ultrasound and, for example, bursitis, articular effusions and muscle injuries can be detected. Also the

Magnetic resonance imaging is suitable for assessing bones, joints, soft tissues and intervertebral discs. It provides a particularly good insight into the bone marrow and - as it has no radiation exposure - particularly well suited for children and adolescents. In the

Osteodensitometry is the bone density measured. It is therefore used mainly in osteoporosis suspected. Inflammations and tumors can be detected earlier with skeletal cinigraphy than with conventional x-rays. In addition, all bones can be examined at once. For this purpose, a radiolabelled substance is injected and observed with a special camera, as this is absorbed into the bone: the stronger the blood flow (eg in a tumor), the higher the enrichment. In order to look directly into the joint, to take a tissue sample and, if necessary, to be able to be therapeutically active, the joint mirroring (arthroscopy) is suitable.

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