For newly qualified physiotherapists and experienced practitioners alike, this textbook provides essentials of understanding normal human movement not just for musculoskeletal physiotherapists.
This is the second edition of: Kinesiology of the Musculoskeletal System. Foundations for Rehabilitation by Donald A. Neumann. With any academic book the teaching reputation of the author must be taken into consideration when deciding the overall quality of the book and with Donald Neumann there is no question in the quality. With a successful career specialising in spinal cord injuries and an academic career starting in 1986, and experience teaching in several different countries and an honorary doctorate the pedigree of this textbook is not in question.
As with the quality of the team who created this book the focus, kinesiology, is not in question as it follows a strong and clear theme throughout the book. The topic of kinesiology may be unfamiliar to newly qualified or even some experienced physiotherapists, but the accessible and structured format of the book will ease the concerns and welcomes any newcomer to the topic. Initially the essentials of arthrokinematics and osteokinematics are clearly defined, which is then applied to the basics of anatomy with a kinesiology focus and then applied into a biomechanical context. The main bulk of the book then follows a classic joint-by-joint walkthrough. At irregular intervals throughout the book there are also anatomical reference materials and clinical connection sections which tackle specific pathologies such as torticollis (which is a fantastic section) and hip dysplasia amongst others.
Arguably the major strength of this book is the extensive intricate artwork which has been extensively remodelled since the first edition. The process of how the artwork was built is described in the preface and the level of thought and detail which has gone into each piece of artwork is remarkable. The artwork is easily accessible and does such a fantastic job at explaining the principles of kinesiology that they should be considered in aiding explanation or education in a patient interaction. It used a mixture of original artwork, photography and photography with illustrations superimposed to aid learning and understanding of complex joints and pathology.
Classically joints of the hands or shoulders can be complex and confusing to understand due to the amount of muscles, ligaments and soft tissues acting upon each joint, particularly for newly qualified physiotherapists. The illustrations really come into their own at these joints when clarifying and explaining the kinematics and directional pull in scapular dyskinesis or pathologies such as swan neck.
It is clear that the text in centered around the illustrations and this is not shied away from as it is explained in the preface. As this is the focus it can be suggested that this book is focussed and more suitable for “Visual Learners” however this is not to say that the text is not rich and clear and completely unsuitable for those who prefer reading as their primary learning method.
A minor weakness of the book as a package is that it might have been nice to include some interactive digital illustrations or videos specific to kinesiology although this would have increased the cost of the resource considerably so it is understandable why this was not included in this project.
Some readers may also be pleased to know that there are quiz sections or “test your knowledge”-style questions included, however these are not lengthy and favour short style questions to test at a basic level. The answers are available on the website which can be frustrating at times when you want to quickly test your knowledge.
As with any book with musculoskeletal in the title it can be very easy for a lot of books with this focus to be dismissed by the other speciality physiotherapists. However understanding movement disorders is the bread-and-butter of any physiotherapist, therefore this book should not be dismissed by other speciality therapists as there is plenty of transferable information such as thoracic biomechanics and gait.
If you are looking for a book to learn pure anatomy or assessment techniques then this book is not for you, however for explaining functional anatomy and muscle-joint interaction through the use of rich, colourful and vibrant illustrations this should be on your bookshelf.