The physical examination of neonates is unique and reflects stages of development. It may reveal musculoskeletal deformities which have to be differentiated from physiological anatomical variants. The presence of congenital anomalies of the spine and of the limbs, although not requiring urgent intervention, prompts investigations for associated anomalies in spinal cord and in the renal and cardiovascular systems. Other common muscoloskeletal problems in neonates are limb fractures and cervical injuries, as consequences of a difficult delivery, infections (arthritis with osteomyelitis, generally in multiple sites), and developmental dysplasia of the hip. Early diagnosis of these conditions is of paramount importance to ensure specific treatment and normal limb growth and function.
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