Discussion: Assessing Musculoskeletal Pain Photo Credit: Getty Images/Fotosearch RF The body is

Discussion: Assessing Musculoskeletal Pain

Photo Credit: Getty Images/Fotosearch RF

The body is constantly sending signals about its health. One of the most easily recognized signals is pain. Musculoskeletal conditions comprise one of the leading causes of severe long-term pain in patients. The musculoskeletal system is an elaborate system of interconnected levers that provides the body with support and mobility. Because of the interconnectedness of the musculoskeletal system, identifying the causes of pain can be challenging. Accurately interpreting the cause of musculoskeletal pain requires an assessment process informed by patient history and physical exams.

In this Discussion, you will consider case studies that describe abnormal findings in patients seen in a clinical setting.

Case 2: Ankle Pain

A 46-year-old female reports pain in both of her ankles, but she is more concerned about her right ankle. She was playing soccer over the weekend and heard a “pop.” She is able to bear weight, but it is uncomfortable. In determining the cause of the ankle pain, based on your knowledge of anatomy, what foot structures are likely involved? What other symptoms need to be explored? What are your differential diagnoses for ankle pain? What physical examination will you perform? What special maneuvers will you perform? Should you apply the Ottawa ankle rules to determine if you need additional testing?

With regard to the case study you were assigned:

·  Review this week’s Learning Resources, and consider the insights they provide about the case study.

·  Consider what history would be necessary to collect from the patient in the case study you were assigned.

·  Consider what physical exams and diagnostic tests would be appropriate to gather more information about the patient’s condition. How would the results be used to make a diagnosis?

·  Identify at least five possible conditions that may be considered in a differential diagnosis for the patient.

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