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Last reviewed dd mmm yyyy. Last edited dd mmm yyyy

Authoring team

The examination of the limbs in the secondary survey should include:

  • looking for:
    • bruising
    • deformity
  • feeling for:
    • tenderness
    • crepitus as bone rubs against bone
    • pulses; an absent pulse, particularly when associated with pallor, paraesthesia, pain and paralysis, is likely to indicate arterial obstruction in need of urgent intervention
  • moving all relevant joints to determine their range of movement

Suspicion of fracture or dislocation should initiate X-ray films of the affected bone in at least two perpendicular planes.

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