Chapter 7 – Musculoskeletal stations

General tipsElbowHip
Ensure you coverShoulderKnee
Joint examinationsNeckAnkle and foot
Hand and wristBackGALS

General Tips

This can be tested  in a virtual OSCE by asking you to explain to a medical student how you would examine a joint. 

Like all previous stations use your standard opening and closing scripts

Ensure you mention: privacy; appropriate exposure; analgesia and a chaperone

Ensure you cover

Brief history

  • Mechanism of injury
  • Hand dominance
  • Occupation/recreational activities
  • Tetanus status


  • Gait
  • Inspection: need to examine both sides; obvious deformity; swelling; erythema; scars
  • Palpation: warmth; effusion
  • Movement: active; passive; resisted 
  • Special tests: see below
  • Neuro/vascular assessment: sensation; power; pulses; capillary refill

Joint examinations

Hand and wrist







Ankle and foot

Gait/Arms/Legs/Spinal (GALS) Assessment

Cite this article as: Trudie Pestell, "Chapter 7 – Musculoskeletal stations," in St.Emlyn's, March 30, 2021,

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