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pGALS is an evidence-based approach to basic musculoskeletal assessment in children and is widely taught to medical students and doctors in primary care, paediatrics and orthopaedics. 

Key Points 

  • pGALS is a fundamental clinical skill in the assessment of children.
  • pGALS is simple, quick and easy.
  • pGALS is not diagnostic but discerns abnormal from normal joints .
  • pGALS is an integral skill to be done in all children (just like examining the heart, chest or abdomen!). 
  • pGALS is similar to adult GALS, with a few simple additional manoeuvres. 
  • It is important to assess all joints as the history may not localise the site of the problem.
  • Check for non-verbal clues of discomfort. 
  • "Practice makes perfect" - opportunities to assess children's joints are numerous (consider outpatients, physiotherapy clinics, and not just rheumatology clinics!).
  • A 'copy me approach' (below) can be helpful when performing pGALS.

Further Information about pGALS
pGALS - a simple musculoskeletal assessment for children. Foster HE and Jandial S. Pediatric Rheumatology Online 2013

A short video demonstration of the complete version of pGALS is available and used with permission from Arthritis Research UK - Further details and video demonstration of the components of pGALS are available from the Arthritis Research UK website. The figure below is taken from this source (with permission).

Examples of abnormal findings on a pGALS assessment, are available.

When to perform pGALS and Practical tips in performing pGALS are available. 

pGALS App now available to download in the Google Play and Apple Store. This app is a study aid that takes you through the pGALS steps with explanatory notes and images, and relevant links to additional information. There is more information (Top Tips and Practical Notes) to help you in your learning and use of pGALS; and you can test your performance against a timed pGALS checklist and keep a record of your progress.

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