How to access MSK services

Musculoskeletal (MSK) conditions affect the joints, bones and muscles, and also include rarer autoimmune diseases and back pain. Common treatments for MSK conditions include:

  • physiotherapy
  • podiatry
  • occupational therapy
  • orthotics

Physiotherapy can help to restore movement and function when someone is affected by injury, illness or disability. They can also help to reduce your risk of injury or illness in the future.

Podiatry treats abnormal conditions of the feet and lower limbs. They also prevent and correct deformity, keep you mobile and active, relieve pain and treat infections.

Occupational therapy aim to improve your ability to do everyday tasks. Occupational therapists can look at all aspects of daily life in your home, school or workplace. They look at activities you find difficult and see if there's another way they can be done.

Orthotics use foot or heal inserts to treat problems relating to pain and discomfort in the feet, legs or spine.

Self-management

We've included a range of self-management information, tools and exercises on NHS inform to help you treat and recover from muscle, bone and joint problems and know when to seek help.

Muscle, bone and joints

Accessing services

How you get access to MSK services depends on where you are. Your local health board decide how each service is accessed and whether you can self-refer or you would require to get a referral from a GP or other healthcare professional first.

NHS Ayrshire & Arran

Physiotherapy, podiatry, occupational therapy for MSK conditions, and orthotics services can only be accessed with a referral from a GP or healthcare professional.

NHS Ayrshire & Arran also have the online Musculoskeletal Service (MSK).

NHS Borders

Physiotherapy services can be accessed by self-referral.

Podiatry can be accessed by self-referral.

Orthotics services can only be accessed with a referral from a healthcare professional.

NHS Dumfries & Galloway

Physiotherapy, podiatry and occupational therapy for MSK conditions can be accessed by self-referral by phoning the Dumfries and Galloway Single Access Point on 030 33 33 3001.

NHS Fife

Adult physiotherapy, occupational therapy for MSK conditions, and orthotics services can only be accessed with a referral from a GP or healthcare professional.

Children's physiotherapy services can be accessed by self-referral using the request for assistance form under Referrals on the NHS Fife website.

Podiatry services can be accessed by self-referral using the Request assistance form also on the NHS Fife website.

NHS Forth Valley

Physiotherapy and podiatry services can only be accessed by a referral from a GP or healthcare professional.

Orthotics can be accessed by self-referral using the adult or child Request for Assistance forms on the NHS Forth Valley website.

NHS Grampian

Physiotherapy services can be accessed by self-referral using the Self referral form on the MSK Physio Grampian website.

Podiatry service access depends on where in Grampian you are, details can be found on the NHS Grampian Diabetes website.

Orthotics services can only be accessed with a referral from a GP or healthcare professional.

NHS Grampian also have an online MSK Physio service.

NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde

Physiotherapy services can be accessed by self-referral using the form on the NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde website.

Podiatry services can be accessed by phoning the Podiatry Appointment Hotline on 0141 347 8909.

Orthotics services can be accessed by phoning the Referral Management Appointment Booking Centre on 0800 592087.

NHS Highland

Physiotherapy and orthotics services can only be accessed by a referral from a GP or healthcare professional.

Accessing Podiatry services can depend on where you are, details can be found on the NHS Highland website.

NHS Lanarkshire

Physiotherapy services can be accessed by self-referral using the online form on the NHS Lanarkshire website.

Occupational therapy for MSK conditions can only be accessed by a referral from a GP or healthcare professional. You can read more about hand therapy on the NHS Lanarkshire website.

NHS Lothian

Physiotherapy services can be accessed in different ways throughout the area. Not all areas accept self-referrals.

Podiatry services can be accessed by self-referral using the form on the NHS Lothian website.

NHS Orkney

Details of how to access physiotherapy, podiatry and occupational therapy are available on the Outpatients page on the NHS Orkney website.

NHS Shetland

Physiotherapy, podiatry, occupational therapy for MSK conditions, and orthotics services can only be accessed with a referral from a GP or healthcare professional.

NHS Tayside

Physiotherapy, occupational therapy for MSK conditions, and orthotics services can only be accessed by a referral from a GP or healthcare professional.

Information on how to access podiatry services where you are is available on the NHS Tayside website.

NHS Western Isles

Physiotherapy services can be accessed by self referral using the form on the NHS Western Isles website.

Podiatry services can be accessed by self referral using the form on the NHS Western Isles website.

Occupational therapy for MSK services can be accessed by self referral using the form on the NHS Western Isles website.

Last updated:
11 May 2022