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This is a series of five online modules covering all aspects of shoulder screening, diagnosis and management.

These courses are designed and delivered by a New Zealand registered Physiotherapy Specialist with a shoulder sub-specialty. They are designed with the clinician in mind with an emphasis on clinical applicability supported by current, evidence-informed and best practice guidelines. The order of the learning material is designed to reflect normal clinical screening, assessment, diagnostic and management processes.

Course Aim

To produce practitioners who can:

  • Accurately screen patients presenting with shoulder girdle symptoms for red flags, and other causes of symptoms that may require additional investigation or treatment in the primary contact setting.
  • Make an accurate diagnosis of common shoulder conditions using combinations of clinical examination and imaging investigations.
  • Apply evidence-informed, non-surgical management, including specific physiotherapy treatment and rehabilitation for common shoulder conditions and list the criteria for orthopaedic or other medical referral.
  • Understand common surgical procedures as they relate to post-operative protocols, and apply appropriate post-operative rehabilitation following these procedures.

The Shoulder Screening Module

In this course you will learn how to systematically work through a process of excluding other causes of shoulder pain, obtaining appropriate diagnostic imaging, and then classifying shoulder pain into categories that guide management.

  • Red Flags
  • Health Screening
  • Pain and Psychosocial Modifiers
  • Cervical Spine and Neurological Examination
  • Shoulder Imaging
  • Diagnostic Classification of Shoulder Pain

The Stiff Shoulder Module

In this module you will learn how to make an accurate diagnosis of stiff shoulder conditions using clinical examination and diagnostic imaging, and how to apply evidence-based, management for frozen shoulder and glenohumeral osteoarthritis. 

Lessons in this module:

  • Diagnosis of the stiff shoulder
  • Frozen shoulder
  • Glenohumeral osteoarthritis

The Unstable Shoulder Module

In this module you will learn a classification system for traumatic and atraumatic shoulder instability that helps guide management. You will learn to perform an accurate clinical examination, indications for diagnostic imaging, how to apply evidence-based, non-surgical management including physiotherapy rehabilitation for glenohumeral instability, and know who to refer for orthopaedic evaluation. 

Lessons in this module:

  • Classification of shoulder instability
  • Diagnosis of shoulder instability
  • Management of shoulder instability

The Rotator Cuff Module

This module covers the pathoaetiology, natural history, diagnosis and management of rotator cuff-related conditions. Lessons in this module begin with the diagnosis of subacromial pain and are then divided according to evidence for specific management of rotator cuff related conditions.

Lessons in this module:

  • Diagnosis of subacromial pain
  • Atraumatic, rotator cuff-related pain
  • Traumatic rotator cuff tears
  • Massive/Inoperable rotator cuff tears
  • Calcific tendinopathy

The Acromioclavicular Joint

This module covers the pathoaetiology, natural history, diagnosis and management of acromioclavicular and sternoclavicular joint conditions.

Lessons in this module:

  • Diagnosis of acromioclavicular joint pain
  • Acromioclavicular joint instability
  • Acromioclavicular joint arthropathy
  • The Sternoclavicular Joint

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the course, the participant will be able to:

  • Competently screen patients for risk factors, signs and symptoms of serious or medical conditions that require medical referral.
  • Perform an accurate clinical examination to identify sources of referred upper limb pain, and altered pain states and pain modifiers.
  • Accurately refer for and interpret results of diagnostic shoulder imaging investigations.
  • Perform an evidence-informed clinical examination to classify, and where possible subclassify, patients with shoulder pain into diagnostic categories that inform management.
  • Describe evidence-based non-surgical management for specific shoulder conditions
  • Apply evidence-informed physiotherapy treatment for specific shoulder conditions.
  • List criteria for orthopaedic referral for conditions in the main diagnostic categories.
  • Describe indications for common surgical procedures, and the associated surgical techniques for specific shoulder conditions and explain how the surgical technique relates to the post-operative protocols.
  • Apply safe and effective post-operative rehabilitation for common surgical procedures.

The Shoulder Series

Here are the of the lessons that are included in this course.

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Dr Angela Cadogan

Dr Angela Cadogan PhD, NZRPS, M.Sports Physio, Dip.MT Physiotherapy Specialist (Musculoskeletal) Angela is a NZ registered Physiotherapy Specialist (Musculoskeletal). Angela has a Ph.D in Musculoskeletal Diagnostics from AUT University, Auckland, New Zealand (2012) with a sub-specialty in the diagnosis and management of shoulder pain. She is based in Christchurch, New Zealand where she works part-time in her own physiotherapy practice, in a diagnostic Orthopaedic Triage role (Shoulder) with the Canterbury District Health Board and in private practice with an orthopaedic shoulder specialist. She has an ongoing research interest in shoulder diagnostics and clinical management of shoulder conditions.

Learning Hours


Approx Hours
Shoulder Course
Shoulder Screening

Red Flags 3

Health Screening 4

Pain and Psychosocial Modifiers 3

Cervical Spine and Neurological Examination 3

Shoulder Imaging 3

Diagnostic Classification of Shoulder Pain 3
Stiff Shoulder

Diagnosis of the stiff shoulder 3

Frozen shoulder 3

Glenohumeral osteoarthritis 3
Unstable Shoulder

Classification of shoulder instability 3

Diagnosis of shoulder instability 3

Management of shoulder instability  3
Rotator Cuff

Diagnosis of subacromial pain 3

Atraumatic, rotator cuff-related pain 3

Traumatic rotator cuff tears 4

Massive/Inoperable rotator cuff tears 3

Calcific tendinopathy 3
AC Joint

Diagnosis of acromioclavicular joint pain 3

Acromioclavicular joint instability 3

Acromioclavicular joint arthropathy 3

The Sternoclavicular Joint 3
Related Courses

Surgical Management and Post Operative Rehabilitation 12

Stiff Shoulder 3

Unstable Shoulder 3

Rotator Cuff 3

AC Joint 3