Online Course
Subjective Examination of the Shoulder
Gain the skills to effectively evaluate the shoulder complex

1-1.5 hours





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Ian Horsley
Course instructor

Lead Physiotherapist in the North West for the English Institute of Sport, and the clinical director of Back In Action Rehabilitation

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The subjective examination is often undervalued in the assessment and management of patients. However, it is actually the most crucial aspect of the examination as it determines the severity, irritability and nature of the patient's condition. Good questioning leads to the formation of a primary hypothesis, possible methods of treatment and likely prognosis of the injury.


The aim of this course is to guide you through the subjective examination for the shoulder joint.


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

  1. Video
  2. Reading activity
  3. Quiz

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 1-1.5 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 0.8 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 six ways of encouraging patient centered communication
  • identify red flags in the differential diagnosis of shoulder pain
  • Correctly list social determinants and factors that could increase the prevalence of shoulder pain
  • select the subjective complaints from a patient to identify common shoulder conditions

Instructor financial and non-financial disclosures

No relevant relationships disclosed by instructor.


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

Featured reviews
As a recent Sports Therapy graduate and a current Physiotherapy student, I have found this course extremely helpful! I am now more mindful of the assessment process, and it encouraged better communication through the subjective assessment with a good understanding of the fundamentals behind that process.
Louise Tomlinson
Sports Therapist
United Kingdom
This course is a great introduction to patient evaluation!
Mohamed kamal
Great short presentation by Ian Horsley to re-focus/ review subjective shoulder assessment skills
Tiffany Williams
This course is great for outlining different shoulder pathologies and their related symptoms. It is clear and concise and is also good for reminding practitioners about how they may come across to patients.
Naomi Goodridge
United Kingdom