You know that playing sports helps keep kids fit and are a fun way for them to socialize and make friends. But you might not know why it's so important for kids to get a sports physical at the beginning of their sports season. In the sports medicine field, the sports physical exam — or preparticipation physical examination PPE — helps determine whether it's safe for kids to participate in a certain sport. Most states actually require that kids and teens have a sports physical before they can start a new sport or begin a new competitive season. But even if a sports physical isn't required, doctors still highly recommend getting one.
Other names for a physical include a complete physical exam, a routine physical, and a checkup. A doctor or nurse may recommend a physical to :. In this article, we discuss what to expect during a routine physical exam. We also cover some specific types of physical exam. Healthcare professionals typically carry out a physical exam in their office or in a dedicated room in a medical clinic or hospital.
It is important for the doctor or nurse to make sure that a person feels comfortable during a physical exam. The American Medical Association require clinics to provide a chaperone on request and to allow people to bring a friend or relative into the examination room with them. Usually, the healthcare professional will also take a medical history before moving onto the physical exam.
The doctor or nurse may ask about :.
Exactly what the physical examination entails will depend on the reason for the test, but in general it can include:. Sometimes, people undergo physical examinations to check for a particular issue or health condition. In these cases, the healthcare professional may carry out specific tests in addition to or instead of those above.
We discuss some of these specific tests below. Doctors recommend regular skin exams to look for suspicious growths, moles, or other changes that may be a of skin cancer.
These exams are particularly important for people with risk factors for skin cancer, such as those with a family history of the condition. A doctor may include a skin exam as part of a routine checkup. A healthcare professional may recommend a clinical breast exam to check for abnormalities in and around the breast area.
During this exam, they will use the p of their fingers to check the entire breast, including the underarm and collarbone area.
If they spot a lump, they will note its size, shape, and texture and check whether it moves easily. This is because lumps that are soft, smooth, round, and movable tend to be noncancerous cysts. During a pelvic exam, a healthcare professional will examine the female reproductive organs to check for any gynecological problems. They may also perform a Pap test to check for s of cervical cancer. Doctors usually recommend that females have their first pelvic exam when they turn 21 years old or if they experience any of the following symptoms :.
During the appointment, the doctor will usually ask the person about their periods and sexual activity. They will then ask the person to take off their underwear and lie on the table with their feet in stirrups and a sheet covering their stomach and legs.
The healthcare professional will visually inspect the area outside of the vagina before moving on to the speculum exam. A speculum is a small plastic or metal instrument. They will insert it into the vagina and then gently open it so that they can see the vaginal canal and cervix. For the Pap test part of the examination, the doctor will use a plastic stick to collect a sample of cells from the inside of the cervix. They will then send this sample to a laboratory for analysis.
Learn more about Pap tests here. Healthcare professionals commonly use a digital rectum exam to check for s of prostate cancer in males.
They may recommend the exam for people at higher risk of prostate cancer or those who experience any of the following symptoms:. A digital rectal exam only takes a few minutes. It is not usually painful, but it may be uncomfortable. The doctor will ask the person to take off their pants and underwear before giving them a gown or cloth to wrap around themselves.
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The person Naked medical exam then either stand and bend forward at the waist or lie on their side in the fetal position on an exam table. The healthcare professional will then gently insert a gloved and lubricated finger into the rectum to inspect the prostate for its size and the presence of any bumps, soft or hard spots, and other abnormalities.
They will also examine the wall of the lower colon, or rectum. Learn more about these types of test here. Physical exams are a routine part of healthcare. If a doctor suspects an underlying health condition, they will usually recommend further diagnostic testing. They will usually do everything they can to help people feel as comfortable as possible during physical exams. Anyone who has any concerns about undergoing a physical exam should speak to their doctor. Physical therapy aims to help patients maintain, recover or improve physical ability that may be impaired due to a condition or injury.
s that a person should see a doctor for a cough include when it occurs alongside dizziness, weight loss, or fever. There are many potential causes…. A slit lamp exam is a routine procedure where a doctor shines a light into the eye to look for injuries or diseases. These may include a detached…. To prevent infection and ensure proper wound healing, it is usually best for a healthcare professional to remove a person's stitches. However, with…. What to expect during a physical exam Medically reviewed by J. Keith Fisher, M. What to expect.
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Share on Pinterest A healthcare professional may listen to the chest during a physical exam. Skin exam. Clinical breast exam. Pap test and pelvic exam. Share on Pinterest A Pap test is one physical exam a female might undergo. Digital rectal exam. Medically reviewed by J.
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