Let’s see how you move!

A musculoskeletal evaluation (MS eval) is a physical assessment that essentially examines joints and how the muscles, ligaments, and other related structures like the skin function as a whole. The examination can help determine physical therapy treatment.

This physical examination tells us a lot about our patient’s body structure, the musculoskeletal system, and how it functions. We’ll be able to assess each joint, noting your baseline strength, any friction between cartilage and bone, and any limitations or abnormalities that should be addressed.

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Some things we are looking for in a musculoskeletal assessment include:

Rheumatoid arthritis
Soft tissue swelling
Bursa swelling
Effusions (fluid in the joints)
Scoliosis or kyphosis (abnormal curvature of the spine)

Physical therapy mecical clinic physiotherapy treatment measuring range of movement in patient after injury rehabilitation.

We are essentially checking how your body moves, your active range of motion (ROM), muscle strength, and what we can do to improve overall function. We will perform a thorough full body examination to establish ROM, strength, and postural findings as well as to identify any musculoskeletal or neurological dysfunction/impairments.

How it works:

We typically start at the top and work our way down!

Female physiotherapist or a chiropractor adjusting patients neck. Physiotherapy, rehabilitation concept. Side view cropped shot.

Head, Neck, and Face

Here, we examine the temporomandibular joint (TMI) for swelling, tenderness, or inflamed joints. This is checking the connection between your jaw and cheekbone. You’ll be asked to open and close your mouth and jut your jaw forward and back.

Next, we move to the neck to check for symmetry. We will check for any bulges, lumps, or tender areas. You’ll move your head from side to side and up and down.



We will then examine both shoulders, observing them from the side, front, and back. We will ask you to shrug your shoulders up to your ear and down. Again, we are noting any joint pain, back pain, or crepitus (grating of the bone against cartilage).

Kinesiologist or physiotherapist treating Trapezius


Here we are assessing arm function from the shoulder to the elbow and elbow to wrist, comparing limbs bilaterally. We will also test motor strength through grip and dexterity exercises. You will be asked to hold out both arms and bend them up. We will test strength with resistance.


Hips/ Legs

Next, we will see how your hip and knee joints work in conjunction with one another. We will have you lie on each side and bend each leg while the therapist pushes against the shin or the thigh to provide resistance.

We may also ask you to walk back and forth so we can see your gait and how you move. We will also be able to see any curvature in your lumbar spine, if any, and how it affects your lower extremities.

Ankle pain from instability, arthritis, gout, tendonitis, fracture, nerve compression (tarsal tunnel syndrome), infection and poor structural alignment of leg or foot in ageing patient


Finally, we move to the feet to assess your plantar flexion and pronation strength. We will push against your feet as you bend them back and forth to gauge your baseline strength.

The musculoskeletal examination is quick and painless. We call it a body once-over! This initial screening will give us a baseline of your body’s mechanics and can help us determine the root cause of any issues.

A screening examination 
to unearth dysfunction.

If there is an issue that can’t be fixed with physical therapy, we can refer to an orthopedic physician for specific musculoskeletal disorders or musculoskeletal conditions. We can also perform special tests like a neurological assessment if there are any specific musculoskeletal complaints.

Rehabilitation is in reach.

Referrals are required by insurance carriers, however, please contact us to discuss treatment options and prices if you do not have insurance.
Bilingual services available at our Dayton and Sparks locations.