Common Musculoskeletal Diagnoses of Upper and Lower Extremities in Older Patients



Older adults have a high prevalence of musculoskeletal complaints. Most musculoskeletal pain in the joints of the upper and lower extremities, especially hips, knees, and hands, is associated with the degenerative changes of osteoarthritis. Older adults may also develop tendonitis and bursitis, as well as inflammatory joint and muscle disease. We discuss common musculoskeletal diagnoses at major joints of the upper and lower extremities, their clinical presentation, physical exam findings, and special treatment considerations. Understanding and addressing pain in older adults can be challenging, as patients often have multiple comorbidities and are on many medications. Accurate diagnosis of the etiologies of musculoskeletal pain and a multidisciplinary approach to treatment is important to preserve quality of life for older adults. Mt Sinai J Med 78:546–557, 2011.© 2011 Mount Sinai School of Medicine