During the examination of the musculoskeletal system, the nurse must gather the patient’s history and complaints (if any). The patient’s family history is also important because some musculoskeletal anomalies are heredity. A head to toe examination of the two-year-old infant is done to assess deviations from normal. Early detection, appropriate referral, and treatment will result in better outcomes. The nurse needs to know normal findings, to easily identify abnormalities. An assessment of the infant’s spine is important. The spine is observed for abnormal curvature, symmetry, opening or dimple. The back is palpated to assess for space (sinus)) or interruption of continuity of the spine under the skin. The normal finding of the infant’s spine is a straight spinal column which is flexible.
Most seven-year-old children are active and can be at high risk for musculoskeletal injury. The extremities are assessed for symmetry, alignment, range of motion, muscle strength and swelling. Abnormalities of the extremities are asymmetry, a decrease in range of motion, muscle weakness, pain, and swelling. To develop strong bones and muscles children must do regular weight-bearing exercises and eat food high in calcium and vitamin D.
When conducting the musculoskeletal assessment of a sixty-five-year-old patient, the nurse must consider the degenerative processes of aging that are normal. Elderly patients are at high risk for fall, therefore, safety during the examination must be observed. During the musculoskeletal examination of the patient, it is important for the nurse to also focus on the patient’s activities of daily living. As stated by Quigley, Palm ; Bickley (2012), ‘Learning how older adults, especially those with chronic illness, function in terms of daily activities is essential and provides an important baseline for the future’. (p.854). Some chronic illnesses can affect bone mass.
During the musculoskeletal assessment information gained from an interview, observation and examination may confirm a diagnosis. Some abnormalities may have underlying causes.