Proximal myopathy presents as symmetrical weakness of proximal upper and/or lower limbs. There is a broad range of underlying causes including drugs, alcohol, thyroid disease, osteomalacia, idiopathic inflammatory myopathies (IIM), hereditary myopathies, malignancy, infections and sarcoidosis. Clinical assessment should aim to distinguish proximal myopathy from other conditions that can present similarly, identify patients who need prompt attention, like those with cardiac, respiratory or pharyngeal muscle involvement, and determine underlying cause of myopathy. Initial evaluation should include simple tests, like creatine kinase, thyroid function and (25)OH vitamin D levels, but further evaluation including neurophysiological studies, muscle imaging and muscle biopsy should be considered for patients in whom no toxic, metabolic or endocrine cause is found, and in those with clinical features suggestive of inflammatory or hereditary myopathy. Additionally, screening for malignancy and testing for anti-Jo1 antibody is indicated for selected patients with IIM. Management depends on underlying cause, and includes measures, such as removal of offending agent, correction of endocrine or metabolic problem, corticosteroids and immunosuppressive therapy for IIM, and physical therapy, rehabilitation and genetic counselling for muscular dystrophies.