The upper limb examination is another skill to elicit neurological signs i.e. nerve problems that supply the arms and hands. Patients may present with a number of complaints including altered sensation e.g. pins and needles or numbness or loss of power of a limb, it may be intermittent such as multiple sclerosis or permanent such as in motor neurone disease. Neuropathies can also occur and can be mono such as wrist drop or Erb’s palsy or poly such as “glove and stocking” which can occur in diabetes mellitus.

A full neurological examination therefore includes assessment of both the motor and sensory systems of the legs. In exams you may be asked to focus on one part i.e. sensory or motor, however this guide will include both.

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Assessment of the Motor System: Upper Extremities