By Saif Usman MD

The elbow exam app by the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgery (AAOS) is another offering in a line of medical apps teaching musculoskeletal examination skills. Previously we have reviewed the AAOS shoulder exam app and the AAOS appropriate use criteria app.


User Interface

The app opens to the title page with the AAOS logo and then brings you to the home screen.

The home screen displays the app developers and credits on the right side and on the left is a menu for going to different parts of the examination. The app is backed by the AAOS and the credits list various prominent orthopedic physicians. The app is almost identical to the shoulder exam app so there is a sense of familiarity for users who have used other AAOS exam apps.


Clinical Scenario:

A 35 year old male presents with right elbow pain. If I wanted to review the entire examination I can just navigate through all the sections and view all the videos. Or if I wanted to focus on something specific such as stress testing or muscle testing, tapping on the section can take you straight to that part of the exam.


You can read the description and tapping on “Play Video” takes you to a video of the maneuver.


Each section has the same explanation and video demonstration of various parts of the exam.


While the sections are well organized, the app does not have a search function so if I wanted to search by pathology or just review a certain exam maneuver, e.g. elbow flexion test, I would have to click through each section to find it. This was also a problem with previous AAOS exam apps.

Evidence and literature used to support the app
Developed and backed by a reputable institution — the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgery.

Healthcare providers that would benefit from this app

  • Family medicine, Internal medicine, pediatric, orthopedics, physical medicine and rehabilitation physicians and residents.  Also physical therapists and athletic trainers could benefit from this app as well.
  • All physicians and healthcare providers looking to review or refresh elbow examination skills could benefit from this app.
  • Price
    • $8.99
    • Very easy to navigate and search
    • Clear videos
    • Developed and backed by AAOS
  • Dislikes
    • Lacks any diagrams of anatomy or exam maneuvers
    • Free options available online giving the same information
    • No search function
  • Overall

    While the app is informative, easy to use, and backed by the AAOS, with so many free options available online with the same information, we cannot recommend this app as a must-have. Further, it is perplexing that the app lacks diagrams and robust search functions — critical elements to have in a medical app, especially one you are charging physicians for.  AAOS should have a serious discussion with their app developers to see why such obvious features aren’t in their app.

  • Overall Score
  • User Interface
  • Multimedia Usage
  • Price
  • Real World Applicability
  • Device Used For Review

    iPad mini with retina display

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