Shoulder Assessment by Luci Minogue


When you go to see your InnerStrength of Bayside Physiotherapist for your shoulder injury or pain, their assessment will be made up of the following parts.

Shoulder pain pic

  1. Patient interview/Subjective Assessment.

Your physiotherapy will ask you a lot of questions, which will help with making a diagnosis and in determining the best course of treatment and rehabilitation. These questions may include

  • pt interview cartoonYour age: certain injuries are more common depending on your age.
  • The location of the pain.
  • What activities make the pain worse or better?
  • Can you rate your pain levels out of ten (ten being the worst pain imaginable).
  • How quickly does the pain get stirred up? How quickly does it settle?
  • Did this pain come on suddenly or did it gradually worsen?
  • Is there a history of trauma?
  • Has there been any change in activity or work?
  • Have you had any unexplained weight loss or night sweats?
  • Do you have pins and needles in the arm or shoulder?
  1. Once your physio has asked all relevant questions he/she will then have a look at your shoulder.

Objective Assessment

  • What is your range of movement like with elevation forwards & out to the side and rotation of the shoulder? When does the pain first come on?
  • The Physio will also look at your passive range of motione. he/she will move your arm whilst you stay relaxed.
  • The Physio will palpate/feel the painful area and the structures around the shoulder joint.
  • Observe the posture of the shoulder, especially the shoulder blade/scapula.
  • How strong is your shoulder? Does pain limit the strength tests? Is there a difference between right and left shoulders?
  • Special tests: These test specific areas of the shoulder and if you test positive to several of the tests it can help form a diagnosis such as impingement of rotator cuff pathology.
  • If your pain is related to exercise or a specific activity, your Physio may do a functional assessment such as looking at your shoulder posture during running or swimming.
  1. Imaging

shld xrayDepending on the severity of your injury, your Physio may prefer to trial a rehabilitation program for several weeks before ordering an MRI, Ultrasound or X-Ray. This is because a lot of asymptomatic people have pathology on imaging such as MRI or Ultrasound, so having a scan may not provide any more information or change the course of treatment.

If however there is a history of trauma, you are a competitive sports person or your Physio suspects a significant injury where surgery may be indicated, a scan will be ordered early.


If you would like to book a Shoulder Assessment with an InnerStrength of Bayside Physiotherapist please call 8555 4099.