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Musculoskeletal (MSK)

During this placement, the majority of out–patient clinics/ classes will be within the Physiotherapy Department. Occasionally, you may accompany your supervisor to a GP Practice clinic.


It will be possible to gain experience in the assessment and treatment of patients, of all ages, referred by GP’s, Orthopaedic Consultants and other members of the multi – disciplinary team, with a wide range of acute and chronic musculoskeletal conditions, some of which are listed below.

Physiotherapist with patient

Photo: Trevor Smith Photography

Common conditions

  • Post fracture rehabilitation

  • Post orthopaedic surgery rehabilitation

  • Hip pathology/dysfunction

  • Tibio-femoral / patello-femoral dysfunction

  • Ankle dysfunction

  • Tendonitis / Tendinopathy

  • Soft-tissue injury management

Student behind a book
Knowledge and Skills required

Students will be expected to:

  • Have a knowledge of the anatomy of the loco motor system and relevant patho – physiology (e.g. Soft tissue/ fracture healing) and be able to link this to patient symptoms and presentations.

  • Execute a subjective and physical examination, demonstrating application of appropriate communication skills, to investigate the causes for functional impairment, using appropriate active/ passive/ manual assessment techniques. This process should include the interpretation of all available resources e.g. imaging, where appropriate.

  • Demonstrate, following assessment, appropriate clinical reasoning to identify diagnosis/ problems, treatment goals and outcome measures to support the implementation of suitable treatment plans and progressions.

  • Demonstrate the safe and effective application of appropriate treatment techniques, which may include:

    • exercise therapy – for individuals and groups

    • manual therapy skills

    • gait re-education

    • patient education

    • pain management

    • hydrotherapy

  • Timely discharge patients, following liaison with other MDT members, as necessary.


Experience may be gained in delivering the following classes:

  • Proprioceptive lower limb class (twice weekly)

  • Impact lower limb class (weekly)

  • Chronic Low-back Pain Management class (weekly based over six sessions)

Physiotherapist with patients in gym

Photo: Trevor Smith Photography

Learning outcomes

On completing this placement, you should be capable of:

Justifying and carrying out an accurate and detailed subjective and physical examination for a range of simple and more complex MSK conditions, affecting peripheral and spinal areas. Thus demonstrating the application of assessment skills to investigate the causes for functional impairment using appropriate active/ passive/ manual assessment techniques. This process should include the interpretation of all available resources e.g. imaging, where appropriate.


Demonstrating the ability to plan, carry out, modify/ progress and evaluate the therapeutic management of patients with an MSK dysfunction.


Writing concise and accurate records.


Managing your time and caseload effectively, showing appropriate prioritisation skills.


Communicating effectively and appropriately, verbally and in writing with patients, carers and other professionals

Critically evaluating the role, benefits and limitations of physiotherapy with reference to current evidence. 

Day 1

Full uniform is worn (polo shirt if preferred) and university ID Badge required to be displayed at all times.

Directions: Click here for directions and map of the hospital. The site is accessible via public transport.


Parking: Parking is available on site, a fee is charged for all patients, visitors and members of staff using these facilities.  On your first day please use the car parks indicated for patients/visitors and pay accordingly.  A parking pass is available to be purchased for future uses. Click here for more information.

Student working hours

Monday – Thurs: 8.30am – 4.30pm

Friday: 8.30am – 4.15pm

Suggested pre-placement reading​

Maitland Vertebral Manipulation (Elsevier): section on Neurological

Maitland Peripheral Manipulation (Elsevier): section on Subjective Examination.

Donatelli RA. Physical Therapy of the Shoulder 2004 4th. Ed. (Churchill LiviNgstone) .

Greenhalgh S. Selfe J. 2006: Red Flags: A Guide to Identifying Serious Pathology of the Spine. (Churchill Livingstone)

Norris CM. Sports Injuries. Diagnosis and Management Chapter 2: Healing (Butterworth Heinman)

Dandy D. Edwards D.  Essential Orthopeadics and Trauma. Section on Tissue

Healing of Bone (Churchill Livingstone)

Margaret Reid Campion.  Hydrotherapy in Practice (Butterworth Heinemann)

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