Module Title:Differential Diagnosis
Language of Instruction:English
Credits: 10
NFQ Level:8
Module Delivered In 1 programme(s)
Teaching & Learning Strategies: This will be delivered as 3 hours theory and 3 hours practical per week for 12 weeks. Students may access lecture material and supplementary recommended texts through Blackboard prior to theory and practical classes. Case studies, journals with web links and recommended texts will be incorporated and posted on blackboard as well as powerpoint presentations, supplementary reading and practical cases on DVD. Course calendar, announcements will be available and posted via blackboard. The practical component will allow the students to develop the required clinical practical competencies with emphasis on specific differential testing using case studies and patient presentations to illustrate and enable learning outcomes 1-6 to be met. Students will work individually and in core groups in practical classes to encourage interactive discussion and consolidation of theoretical content. Practical classes will promote an in depth learning environment utilising problem solving approach and hypothesis generation to investigate and address practical problems.
Module Aim: To progress the student's knowledge and understanding of neuromusculoskeletal impairment identification. Advance their clinical reasoning to consider other differential diagnoses., including Musculoskeletal masqueraders.
Learning Outcomes
On successful completion of this module the learner should be able to:
LO1 Recognise and describe the pertinent signs and symptoms of a systemic disorder and non mechanical disorder. Be competent in differentiating between local neuromusculoskeletal impairments and a systemic disorder.
LO2 Identify possible orthopaedic / neuromusculoskeletal impairments,and there mechanical and nonmechanical differentials, for the peripheral and spinal neuromusculoskeletal system given a pertinent subjective history, signs, symptoms and evaluation summary.
LO3 Identify limitations and prognosis of the presenting disorder and be able to identify when a second opinion is essential. Recognise when it is appropriate to refer for further investigations (being aware of the investigations available - with reference to imaging and radiographic techniques).
LO4 Be competent in accessing and critically appraising the most recent evidence pertaining to conditions / impairments encountered, to facilitate optimal patient care.
LO5 Identify pertinent evidence based clinical practice guidelines, where appropriate, that will guide optimal patient management.
LO6 Be competent in incorporating the Musculoskeletal Clinical Translation Framework (MCTF) in Musculoskeletal Pain Disorders (MPD) assessment and management
Pre-requisite learning
Module Recommendations

This is prior learning (or a practical skill) that is recommended before enrolment in this module.

No recommendations listed
Incompatible Modules
These are modules which have learning outcomes that are too similar to the learning outcomes of this module.
No incompatible modules listed
Co-requisite Modules
No Co-requisite modules listed
This is prior learning (or a practical skill) that is mandatory before enrolment in this module is allowed.
Successful completion of year 3 or equivalent

Module Content & Assessment

Indicative Content
Theory/Practical 1.1
Knowledge, presentation and recognition of the pertinent signs and symptoms of the systemic disorders such as the Sero-negative spondyloarthropathies and non mechanical disorders that may present as differentials to neuromusculoskeletal disorders.
Theory/Practical 1.2
Clinical anatomy of the upper and lower extremities with emphasis on the etiology, incidence, typical presentation and management options.
Theory/Practical 1.3
Mechanisms of injury for the neuromusculoskeletal system with emphasis on primary and secondary restraints of all the peripheral joints and identification of possible structures involved
Theory/Practical 1.4
Differentiate, recognise and identify causes of pain. Understand the subclassification of pain and its relationship to differential diagnosis. Recognise the pertinent signs for identifying: i)NPSH ( Neuropathic Pain Sensory Hypersensitivity) ii) Peripheral Neuropathic Pain (conductivity / sensitivity) iii)Nocioceptive somatic iv) mixed.
Theory/Practical 1.5
Utilising the current evidence,critically select and implement the most appropriate examination tools for a given condition. Recognise sensitivity / specficityand likelihood ratios for selected tests to justify their implementation and where appropriate, clinical practice guidelines.
Theory/Practical 1.6
Case study reviews, both theoretical and practical, with emphasis on differential identification from the subjective examination to formulate a subjective hypothesis that guides the objective examination. Justification of specific testing procedures to confirm in the objective examination (see 1.5)
Theory/Practical 1.7
Knowledge of MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging), CT (Computerised Tomography) and specialised radiographic techniques and their use and properties for identifying certain pathologies.
Assessment Breakdown%
Continuous Assessment30.00%
Special Regulation
Students must achieve a minimum grade of 35% in both CA and Practical requirements
Continuous Assessment
Assessment Type Assessment Description Outcome addressed % of total Assessment Date
Other Case study reviews, practical case presentations and Case based clinical practice guideline presentations. 1,2,3,4,5,6 30.00 n/a
No Project
Assessment Type Assessment Description Outcome addressed % of total Assessment Date
Practical/Skills Evaluation 2 separate oral practical viva examinations (35% each) based on a clinical case scenario. Candidates are to present examination findings, discuss pertinent differentials related to current evidence for oral justification and presentation. 1,2,3,4,5,6 70.00 Sem 1 End
No End of Module Formal Examination

ITCarlow reserves the right to alter the nature and timings of assessment


Module Workload

Workload: Full Time
Workload Type Frequency Average Weekly Learner Workload
Independent Learning Time 15 Weeks per Stage 11.87
Lecture 12 Weeks per Stage 3.00
Practicals 12 Weeks per Stage 3.00
Total Hours 250.00

Module Delivered In

Programme Code Programme Semester Delivery
CW_SASRA_B Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Sports Rehabilitation and Athletic Therapy 7 Mandatory