Inspection And Palpation

Inspect the joint for swelling or redness. Swelling may appear as a rounded bulge about 1 inch anterior to the external auditory meatus.

Swelling, tenderness, and decreased range of motion suggest an inflamed joint.

To locate and palpate the joint, place the tips of your index fingers just in front of the tragus of each ear and ask the patient to open his or her mouth. The fingertips should drop into the joint spaces as the mouth opens. Check for smooth range of motion; note any swelling or tenderness. Snapping or clicking may be felt or heard in normal people.

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