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MSME701 Clinical Diagnosis

Clinical diagnosis and evaluation of patients with musculoskeletal pain and dysfunction. Emphasis is on learning musculoskeletal clinical examination and diagnostic skills, with an evidence-based approach to the use of manual skills and clinical tests. This paper is restricted to medical graduates, and is a prerequisite for MSME709. 9-day on-campus course.

MSME 701 is designed to provide students with hands-on experience in musculoskeletal clinical diagnostic practice and theory. The teaching will cover the basic anatomy, biomechanics and evidence base for the clinical techniques used in musculoskeletal diagnosis. The paper also covers critical reasoning in medicine, the pathophysiology of musculoskeletal and myofascial pain, the use and interpretation of radiology, and neurology relevant to the diagnosis of neuromusculoskeletal conditions. This paper is restricted to medical graduates and is a prerequisite for MSME 709 Clinical Therapeutics.

Paper title Clinical Diagnosis
Paper code MSME701
Subject Musculoskeletal Medicine
EFTS 0.125
Points 15 points
Teaching period Semester 1 (On campus)
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $3,479.25
International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.

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Limited to
Limited toPGCertMSM, PGDipMSM
Students must be registered medical practitioners to enrol in this paper. Enrolments for this paper are limited and it requires departmental permission. View more information about limitations of enrolment.

Further information

Administrator Client Services
Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and Musculoskeletal Medicine
University of Otago, Christchurch
PO Box 4345, Christchurch, New Zealand
Tel +64 3 378 6161 

Teaching staff

Dr Grant Thompson

Paper Structure

This paper is taught through a 9-day on-campus block course so that students can review and refine their clinical examination, investigatory and diagnostic techniques. Students work in small groups with experienced clinical tutors. Some material is provided electronically, or via Zoom, prior to attending the on-campus course.

This paper covers the following areas:

  • Examination of the musculoskeletal system
  • Clinical interviewing
  • Radiology - evaluating plain x-rays, indications for referral, interpreting reports for patients, special techniques; CT, MRI, ultrasound
Teaching Arrangements

This paper centres around a 9-day practical, on-campus course held in Christchurch, New Zealand, Thursday 9th March - Friday 17th March 2023.


Netter's 'Orthopaedic Clinical Examination' 4th Edition by Joshua Cleland, Shane Koppenhaver and Jonathan Su. Available from the publisher or from Amazon or The Book Depository.

Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Lifelong learning, Communication, Ethics, Self-motivation.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes

Students who successfully complete the paper will develop:

  • Confidence and expertise in their assessment of musculoskeletal anatomy, biomechanics and musculoskeletal neurology
  • Skills in critical thinking for musculoskeletal diagnosis
  • An understanding of the implications of neurobiological aspects of pain on musculoskeletal examination and diagnosis

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Semester 1

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system