We designed, implemented and assessed an interactive musculoskeletal teaching module for fourth-year medical students. Over a 2-week period, students followed a programme of alternating lectures, interactive tutorials, case discussions, clinical examination and 'how to do' sessions using patients and clinical models.Over a 4-month period, 140 fourth-year medical students rotated for 2 weeks through a new interactive musculoskeletal teaching module in an elective orthopaedic hospital. To assess the impact of our module, a basic-competency examination in musculoskeletal medicine was developed and validated. Each student completed the examination on the first and last days of the module. We also assessed musculoskeletal basic knowledge in students from a different medical school, receiving a classic lecturing programme.In the pre-course assessment, only 20 % of students achieved an overall pass rate. The pass rate increased to 85 % in post-course examination. Students found particularly beneficial the interactive tutorial approach, with 48 % finding this to be the single most effective teaching method. When compared with students who completed a classic lecturing programme, students attending our interactive module scored higher in all aspects of musculoskeletal knowledge.This study highlights the benefits and need for more interactive teaching of musculoskeletal medicine in medical schools.