Introduction to the Shoulder

Introduction to the Shoulder

Develop a good knowledge of shoulder structure and function, epidemiology and age-related changes.


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.


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.


  • Section 1: Epidemiology of Shoulder Pain & Injury
  • Section 2: Shoulder Structure & Function
  • Section 3: Age-Related Differences in the Shoulder
  • Section 4: Shoulder Pain: The Dilemma of Diagnosis
  • Section 5: Final Tasks