How to do the Head to Toe Survey

By Bill, posted
Watch this 60 second video and learn how to perform a head to toe survey on an injured casualty.
The head to toe survey is used as part of the secondary assessment to help establish if any injuries are present on the casualty’s body.

Head and Face

Look for any fluid loss coming from the ears and nose which can be a sign of a skull fracture. Also check for any deformity around the skull and neck.


Check for any misalignment which could indicate damage to the collarbone and other bones around the shoulder.


Check for any sign of deformity and for open fractures around the upper and lower arms. Also look out for medical bracelets which could be an indication of a known illness. Medical tags can also be worn around the neck.


Gently feel the abdomen for soft spots which can be an indication of internal bleeding. This is also a good time to check your hands to see if any blood is present, which is an obvious sign of external bleeding.


Check to see that the pelvis is in alignment. If out of place then a fracture / dislocation may be present. This injury can cause one leg to be longer than the other which can be checked visually.

Legs & Ankles

Look at the upper & lower legs and both ankles for signs of deformity, open fractures and blood loss.


Carefully check the spine for misalignment and any signs of deformity. If in doubt do not press too hard or move the casualty from their current position.

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