Shoulder Foundations

Basic Assessment and Treatment

A 1-day Practical Course with Dr Angela Cadogan (Specialist Shoulder Physiotherapist).


Master the basics of shoulder assessment, differential diagnosis and rehabilitation to get you treating common shoulder conditions with confidence. 

About the Course

Perfect your hands-on assessment, sharpen your differential diagnosis skills and master treatment of the ‘stiff’ shoulder and basic scapula and rotator cuff rehabilitation.  

Who is the course suitable for?

This course is ideal for:

  • any MSK physiotherapist
  • physiotherapy students
  • new or recent graduates
  • those new to seeing shoulders
  • those returning to the workforce who want to update and refine their shoulder assessment and rehabilitation skills.

Course Content

This is a blended learning course consisting of online learning (3.5 hrs) and a 1-day practical course. 

Online learning  MSK Foundations

Includes 3.5 hours of self-paced learning in the MSK Foundations courses:

  • Red Flags
  • The Clinical Examination
  • Treatment Planning

Practical Course  Shoulder Foundations

In this 1-day practical course, learn a simple, structured method of shoulder assessment, sharpen your differential diagnosis skills and master the basics of shoulder rehabilitation. 

In the practical course:

  • Cervical spine examination
  • Shoulder tests and interpretation
  • The role of 'special tests'
  • Treatment of the 'stiff' shoulder
  • Scapula and rotator cuff rehabilitation 

Presented by: Dr Angela Cadogan (Specialist Physiotherapist)

Course Dates:  See section below for dates and locations.  

Cost:  Earlybird price $350 | Full price $425 

*15% Discount for Graduate Academy and Shoulder Academy members. Use your discount code at checkout. 

Course numbers are limited. Register early!

Terms and Conditions

  • Course is run subject to minimum numbers (full refund given if cancelled) 
  • A printed manual cannot be guaranteed for registrations less than 1 week before the course date. 
  • Please read our full cancellation policy carefully. We recommend you take out insurance for travel and accommodation in case of covid or other disruption.

Course Dates & Locations

Practical Course

Learn skills to become confident in:

  • Shoulder Assessment

    Learn a simple, structured, hands-on method of shoulder assessment, which tests to use, and get confident with shoulder differential diagnosis.

  • Treatment and Rehabilitation

    Learn how to treat the 'stiff' shoulder and master the fundamentals of scapula and rotator cuff rehabilitation.

  • Referral

    Sharpen your skills at identifying patients who need onward referral for imaging or specialist assessment.

After this course you will be able to:

  • Identify patients with concerning features or who are not progressing as expected and take appropriate actions.

  • Identify when symptoms are not from the shoulder (referred pain)

  • Perform a simple, structured shoulder assessment to make an accurate differential diagnosis of common shoulder conditions.

  • Identify patients who need imaging or onward referral.

  • Treat a 'stiff' shoulder using irritability as a guide to progress or regress treatment.

  • Confidently prescribe exercises to rehabilitate the scapula and rotator cuff.

Limited Numbers - Don't Miss Out!

Don't miss out on this opportunity to master the basic assessment and treatment skills that will get you managing common shoulder problems with confidence!

What is included:

  • 1 Year Access

    Access to all course material for 1 year after the course.

  • Course Manual provided

    Keep a copy of the manual in your clinic. Refer to the list of tests, imaging indications, referral criteria and treatment suggestions with your next shoulder patient!

  • CPD Certificate

    10.5 total hours of quality learning from a Registered Specialist Physiotherapist and internationally recognised shoulder expert!

Shoulder Essentials Course

We strongly recommend also signing up for the Shoulder Essentials Course (run the next day) where you will get into more detail about diagnosis and management of specific shoulder conditions. 

Shoulder Essentials covers frozen shoulder, rotator cuff-related pain and traumatic shoulder instability, including: diagnosis, imaging indications, the role of injections, physiotherapy rehabilitation and orthopaedic referral criteria. Course dates and registration info here. 

Cancelation Terms & Conditions

Physio Academy may cancel a course due to insufficient registrations.  In this instance a full refund will be given.

Registrant Cancelations

  • For cancellations more than 8 weeks before the course: full refund less a $50 admin fee.
  • For cancellations up to 4 weeks before the course: 50% refund less a $50 admin fee.
  • For cancellations less than 4 weeks’ notice: no refund will be given.*

*We understand that sometimes the unavoidable happens and people can't attend a course due to illness, a family situation, or other last-minute reasons. In this case, we give you the option to find a suitable health professional to take your place on the course. Let us know their contact details (name, email, mobile number) so we can transfer your enrolment to them. And you sort out payment with them. The cancellation policy applies to your replacement as well. 

We recommend you consider travel insurance for flights and accommodation in case of course disruptions or cancellations.



As a new/recent grad, the shoulder has often been a body part that I have struggled to assess, diagnose and treat. This course really helps to break the shoulder down and has made me a lot more confident in assessing and treating shoulder conditions.

Very helpful


Teaches a clear-cut examination of shoulders to cover all bases. Really takes any confusion out of a complicated joint.


If you have not treated shoulders in an extended period since university I would recommend this for refreshment


Absolutely worth it for new grads or anyone who is still refining shoulder assessment.

The shoulder foundations course is an essential course for any physio working in private practice and managing shoulder complaints.


The pre-course webinars, pre-reading, course manual, resources provided, and teaching are all of a really high standard. The course is really well structured and provides so much information on the assessment of a patient presenting with shoulder pain, identifying red flags and serious pathology, providing structure to the assessment of a patient presenting with shoulder pain and how to classify and manage. I would highly recommend the course to any physio!


Dr Angela Cadogan

Dip Phys, M.Sports Physio, Dip MT, PhD
Physiotherapy Specialist (Musculoskeletal).

Angela is a NZ registered Physiotherapy Specialist (Musculoskeletal) with a Ph.D in Musculoskeletal Diagnostics from AUT University, Auckland, New Zealand (2012) (shoulder sub-specialty). Based in Christchurch, she works as a clinical consultant in her own private practice specialising in the diagnosis and management of shoulder pain.

Angela also works in an Orthopaedic Triage and Assessment role (Shoulder Service) with the Canterbury District Health Board. Angela has an ongoing research interest in shoulder conditions, has many publications on the topic, has been an invited keynote speaker at many national and international shoulder conferences and is Associate Editor at JOSPT (Journal of Orthopaedic and Sports Physical Therapy).

Angela has been teaching courses on the diagnosis, management and rehabilitation of shoulder conditions for over 10 years and is passionate about upskilling other physiotherapists and improving capability of the physiotherapy workforce to meet the needs of the changing healthcare system. Angela is the director of Physio Academy. Learn more:


  • What is the difference between the Shoulder Foundations Practical Course and the Shoulder Essentials Practical Course?

    The difference between what you learned at university and what you learn in Shoulder Foundations is that, instead of just asking a list of subjective questions, you get the next level of clinical reasoning so you know what each of your subjective questions means. You’ll find out what the answer to each question adds to your clinical reasoning, and how each question may lead to follow-up questions which improves your subjective examination to make it more targeted and efficient and improves your clinical reasoning to get to a more refined differential diagnosis.

    In the objective examination you will go back over the basic shoulder physical examination tests including ROM and resisted tests. As you will learn in the online pre-requisites, special tests are of very limited value for the shoulder and much more diagnostic information is gained from ROM and muscle tests. If you haven’t been taught about that at University this would be important gaps to fill. If you’re looking to use a lot of special tests in clinical practice you will be missing many important diagnoses, and falsely identifying others. What you will learn is the hands-on skill to properly examine shoulder ROM and muscle tests, and how to interpret the results of your tests in a differential diagnosis framework. So instead of just ‘doing’ you are thinking and interpreting as you go.

    The treatment approach in the Shoulder Foundations course follows the subjective and objective examination in a real patient case study, then deconstructs the information to come up with a treatment plan for the patient’s specific condition, using transferable principles to any shoulder condition. The value in this is that when you start out and you don’t know about all the possible shoulder conditions, by doing the Foundations course you will learn to pick up the ones you should treat (even if you don’t know what they are) and the ones you should refer for imaging or orthopaedic review. If you treat them you will have sound treatment principles as well as knowledge of contraindications to treatment.

    In Shoulder Essentials we build on this, but we assume you already know about the relative value of special tests (taught in Shoulder Foundation) and how to perform and interpret your ROM and muscle tests correctly as this is not repeated in Shoulder Essentials. So there is an assumed level of basic knowledge, clinical reasoning and skill, which you may or may not have depending on where you trained and what supervision you have been given at work. If there are gaps, we don’t have time in Shoulder Essentials to go back over those, which is why we have the Shoulder Foundations course.