Pediatric Orthopedic Physical Examination of the Infant: A 5-Minute Assessment

Abraham Ganel, MD, Israel Dudkiewicz, MD, Dennis P. Grogan, MD


J Pediatr Health Care. 2003;17(1) 

In This Article


A review of recent literature in pediatrics, pediatric orthopedics, and general orthopedics revealed a lack of information on pediatric orthopedic assessment of the newborn and infant. This paper presents a description of a 3-to-5 minute physical examination intended to detect congenital anomalies of the musculo-skeletal system, or to reassure the concerned parents that their offspring is healthy. An initial review of the family, prenatal, and birth history may alert the examiner to specific problems. Difficult vaginal labor and delivery of a large infant may cause clavicular fracture or brachial plexus injury. Breech delivery suggesting developmental dysplasia of the hip joint is one such example. Physical examination is performed from head to toe with the baby laid supine in a warm room with no direct light shining on the face. It is useful to talk throughout the physical examination.


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