Online Course
Introduction to the Shoulder
Develop a good knowledge of shoulder structure and function, epidemiology and age-related changes.

10.5-11 hours





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Physiotherapists possess a wide range of clinical skills that can be integrated across a variety of shoulder complaints and surgical contexts.  Thus it is useful to have an understanding of the epidemiology, prevalence, and incidence of shoulder conditions. Whether acting as a first contact practitioner or in a rehabilitation capacity following injury or surgery, for any presenting shoulder complaint it is important to have a strong knowledge of functional anatomy and biomechanics, and how these differ with age, in order to optimise an individual’s return to function.  Currently, there are no generally applied criteria for the various diagnostic labels for shoulder pain, but understanding the different classification systems that have been suggested can help our clinical reasoning processes to contribute towards the optimal management of individuals with shoulder pain. Initially this course will explore the epidemiology of shoulder injuries globally and locally within your community allowing you to assess the impact of injuries to the shoulder in your individual context. This is followed by a review of shoulder structure and function which ensures a good foundation of knowledge for effective clinical reasoning. Age-related differences can have an impact on clinical reasoning, which will be explored in the paediatric and older populations.  Finally the currently used classification systems for individuals with shoulder pain will be covered and how you might utilise these in your practice.


The aim of this course is to provide a comprehensive knowledge of the structure and function of the shoulder, to explore epidemiology, prevalence, and incidence of shoulder pain, investigate age-related differences, and to identify classification systems currently available to start the clinical reasoning process.


This course is made up of videos, reading, forum posts and a final quiz. The course content is split into the following sections:

  1. Epidemiology of Shoulder Pain & Injury
  2. Shoulder Structure & Function
  3. Age-Related Differences in the Shoulder
  4. Shoulder Pain: The Dilemma of Diagnosis

Target audience

This course is aimed at Physiotherapy and Physical Therapy clinicians, students and assistants. Other interested professionals such as athletic trainers, occupational therapists, nurses or medical doctors interested in this subject are also invited to participate.


Availability - this course is online and can be completed on your own schedule.

Hours of Learning - No deadlines are applied to this course and it can be started and completed in your own time according to your personal schedule. We expect the required elements to take around 10.5-11 hours depending on your schedule and learning style. Additionally there are many optional resources provided and if you choose to review these the course could take longer to complete.

Types of Activities - Watching videos, reading, a final quiz and participating in an international discussion forum.

Certificates - At the end of the course, when you have completed all of the required elements, you will be able to download a certificate of completion and 10.4 Plus points will be added to your personalised learning dashboard.

Requirements to complete this course

In order to complete this course and receive a course completion certificate plus CEUs/CCUs/CPD points you will need to:

  1. Respect the Plus Community Culture.
  2. Log all the required learning activities as complete (represented by the orange icons!).
  3. Actively and appropriately participate in the course discussions.
  4. Pass a final quiz with a score of 80% or more.
  5. Complete a course evaluation form.

Learning outcomes

At the end of this course you will be able to:

  • Describe the epidemiological factors that influence shoulder pain in relation to firstly, global populations and secondly, their local context.
  • Describe at least four ways in which the structure and biomechanics of the shoulder contributes to function.
  • Discuss how age can influence clinical reasoning in the paediatric shoulder and the older adult shoulder.
  • Recognise four methods for classification of shoulder pain.


For special needs or accommodations please contact us with details of how we can meet your needs.

Featured reviews
It is my first course attending in Plus. I had not practised physiotherapy for a while and wanted to start the practice again. I could review my knowledge of shoulder pain and get an increased understanding of pathology. All clinical practicians should attend this course to revise their knowledge of shoulder pain.
Navamani V
This course is an excellent introduction to the shoulder with lots of clinical pearls!
South Africa
It is a great course, very informative. The quality and quantity of information are fantastic! I liked how the information was presented. There is a lot of clarity in the video. The context of this course is well explained.
Yana Babenko
It is a great course, very informative. The quality and quantity of information are fantastic! I really liked the way the information was presented. There is a lot of clarity in the video, and the explanation is everywhere!
Yana Babenko
This course is great! It refreshed my knowledge, and I even learned more than at the University!
Kawin Otmann
I am happy to have come across this course at this time. I refreshed my knowledge about shoulder joints and their pathology, and I can give the best intervention to my patient in my clinical practice!
I have gained insight into the pathoanatomic approach and rehabilitation. As a physiotherapist, I find this approach the best one to use as there is no currently better system for shoulder pain.
Charles Nyangusi
This course presented a valuable opportunity to thoroughly review the anatomy and evaluation of the shoulder and garner new information on various populations of patients and the management of their shoulder problems.
This course has helped me understand the shoulder pain classification and how to utilise it to manage my patients. Physioplus, thank you for this course!
Herbert Omoding
This was a nice course, plenty of knowledge and well-equipped with updated knowledge for new clinicians
Abdul Basit
This was my first online course through Physioplus. It is interactive, interesting and great video clips. Thanks for a well-put together course!
Shelley Mason
South Africa
I think Physioplus is a great platform to upgrade one's knowledge and skills. It is strongly backed up with research and evidence based practice. Its very systematically done and the activities encourages one to read, write and reflect on all our learnings.
Shraddha Khialani Daryanani
This is a course worth doing. Very informative and packed with different resources on the shoulder. I'm looking forward to continuing with the shoulder series
Nyiko Ann Khosa
South Africa
It is a great introduction to the shoulder complex for both students and clinicians alike
Sharon Cutajar
This course is highly recommended. Though I work with shoulder patients nearly daily, the anatomy, pathology, and developmental reviews are invaluable to my practice.
Katrin Moffet
Physical Therapist
United States
Really instructive course with lots of important information for the practice!
Schweizer Guy
Profession not set
This course is an excellent way to improve and build your knowledge. It is interactive and educational and is a great way of improving your skills.
Physiotherapy Assistant
Country not set
This is a very good course to take especially for anyone needing informed and evidence based practices on shoulder pain management.
Physiotherapy Assistant
Country not set
I am a return to practice Physio. I'm still awaiting a start date for my clinical refreshment. This online learning has proved to be a very useful tool to prepare in advance of any placement. I have been away from the profession for 15 years, so it is paramount that I bring myself up to date with all current thinking. I have found these courses invaluable.
Physiotherapy Assistant
Country not set