Reading and continued development is a key element of any professional’s practice. The day we stop learning, that is the day we stop growing. And what happens if we don’t grow? We stagnate. So today I am sharing with you a list of books which form the essential reading list for musculosksletal physiotherapists (UPDATED 2019)

The Physiotherapist’s Pocketbook: Essential Facts at Your Fingertips, 3rd edition

This great little resource book is a fantastic aide memoire that has basic (and some advanced) facts and information all in one handy pocket sized book. Sections on anatomy and neuroanatomy really good along with a comprehensive list of useful MSK tests.  The layout and sections are useful. This is aided further by the appendices and clear diagrams and illustrations. Colour coded text hightlighting titles from facts makes for easy browsing and information finding.

Special Tests in Musculoskeletal Examination: An evidence-based guide for clinicians

The proliferation of special tests used in musculoskeletal examination has left the clinician with a vast array of physical tests at their disposal. Special Tests in Musculoskeletal Examination is a handy one-stop guide with over 150 peripheral tests. The clinical context and evidence base is thoroughly explored and the addition of clinical tips and expert opinion will enable the clinician to select the most appropriate tests and interpret the results meaningfully.

Musculoskeletal Examination and Assessment

Musculoskeletal examination and assessment by N. Petty and K Barnard is one of the outstanding books which provides comprehensive assessment tools for a musculoskeletal physiotherapist. The tests and procedures are described in a succinct manner. Unlike some of the other books it doesn’t provide just a multitude of tests but rather focuses on clinical decision making and reasoning.

Grieve’s Modern Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy

One of the classic books originally published by Gregory Grieve in 1981, this modern fourth edition incorporates the classics concepts which are further enhanced and supported by research and evidence based practice. It brings together the latest state-of-the-art research, from both clinical practice and the related basic sciences, which is most relevant to practitioners. The topics addressed and the contributing authors reflect the best and most clinically relevant contemporary work within the field of musculoskeletal physiotherapy.

Brukner and Khan’s Clinical Sports Medicine

Whilst the title of this book indicates that the target audience is sports physiotherapists, the excellent level of detail with which each musculoskeletal condition is covered, we can argue that it is perhaps indispensible book for all musculoskeletal physiotherapists.  The first volume, Clinical Sports Medicine: Injuries, is the essential guide to all aspects of preventing, diagnosing and treating sports-related injuries. The second volume, Clinical Sports Medicine: Exercise Medicine, focuses on the health benefits of exercise and the medical issues in sport.

Orthopaedic Physical Assessment

This has always been my go to book for revision of assessment procedures and objective tests whether it was during college exams or subsequently during clinical practice. Newly updated, this full-color resource offers a systematic approach to performing a neuromusculoskeletal assessment with rationales for various aspects of the assessment. This comprehensive text covers every joint of the body, head and face, gait, posture, emergency care, the principles of assessment, and preparticipation evaluation.

Clinical Reasoning in Musculoskeletal Practice

Clinical Reasoning in Musculoskeletal Practice is essential reading for the musculoskeletal practitioner to gain the contemporary knowledge and thinking capacity necessary to advance their reasoning skills. Now in its 2nd edition, it is the only all-in-one volume of up-to-date clinical reasoning knowledge with real-world case examples illustrating expert clinical reasoning.

Explain Pain

Explain Pain aims to demystify the process of understanding and managing pain. It brings the body to life in a way that makes an interesting read for therapists and pain sufferers alike. All pain is real, and for many people it is a debilitating part of everyday life. It is now known that understanding more about why things hurt can actually help someone understand their pain and go about their daily life.

Physical Rehabilitation

This classic textbook includes everything you need to know about the rehabilitation management of adult patients, from integrating basic surgical, medical, and therapeutic interventions to how to select the most appropriate evaluation procedures, develop rehabilitation goals, and implement a treatment plan. Covers strategies for fall prevention, virtual reality rehabilitation, body-weight treadmill training, and upper extremity amputations and prosthetics.

Therapy Outcome Measures for Rehabilitation Professionals


This book allows therapists to describe the relative abilities and difficulties of a patient/client in the four domains of impairment, activity, participation and well-being in order to monitor changes over time. This approach has been rigorously tested for reliability and clinical validity. It is quick and simple to use, taking just a few minutes to complete and has been used for treatment planning, clinical management, audit and research. It allows for the aggregation of data so that comparisons can be made for the purposes of internal and external benchmarking.

Clinical, Innovation, MSK, Research

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