elbow (examination of the elbow joint)
The clinical examination of the elbow should comprise:
- complete exposure of both upper limbs
- look - valgus or varus deformity; carrying angle is measured with a goniometer, average values being 11 degrees for males and 13 degrees for females - wasting or swelling - localised swelling e.g. rheumatoid nodules
- feel - temperature, nodules, synovial thickening, tenderness - palpate the ulnar nerve behind the medial condyle for thickening or hypersensitivity - there should be an equilateral triangle formed between the epicondyles and the olecranon - if not, consider subluxation
- move - active and passive - compare both sides for flexion, extension and radioulnar supination and pronation; the normal ranges are respectively: 145, 0 (straight), 80 and 75 degrees respectively
- if indicated, test neurology and pulses distal to the elbow.
Last reviewed 01/2018