What is a Physiotherapist Looking for When Assessing a Shoulder Injury?

What do we look for in our assessments?⁠ When you come in with an injury there are a few things we explore. 

In this video you can see Kirra assessing shoulder range of motion, this is our first step.

After assessing if you have restrictions in your movement patterns, we will then assess if there is any strength weaknesses when comparing side to side, as well as what is expected compared with age and activity-matched peers.⁠

We can then move into injury specific tests as indicated by your ailment such as;

  • ligament
  • tendon
  • bone
  • muscle injuries

This might seem like a lot but through all these means of assessments we can narrow down what is causing your pain and create an appropriate action plan to overcome it.
Identifying the root of the issue helps us select the best exercises/stretches/rest protocols for the most efficient recovery.

possible shoulder injuries

  • Arthritis
  • Dislocations
  • Fractures 
  • Frozen shoulder
  • Impingement syndrome
  • Labral tears
  • Shoulder instability
  • Rotator cuff tear

Symptoms of a shoulder injury

  • Pain

  • Stiffness

  • Weakness

  • Inability to rotate

  • Inability raise your arm

  • Feels loose

  • Deformed apperance

Treatment of a shoulder injury

Your treatment and prevention options will depend on the specific problem with your shoulder. But there are some fundamental principles that are applicable to most shoulder issues;

  • Rest
  • Anti-inflammatory medication
  • Exercises to strengthen the shoulder and restore flexibility
  • Physical therapy techniques
  • Surgery


Here at Physio and Fitness Clinic, we can assist you with your sports injuries, and build core strength. Make an appointment with a physio today.