Investigating shoulder injury (summary)

Last revised by Craig Hacking on 3 Apr 2018
This is a basic article for medical students and other non-radiologists

Shoulder injury is a relatively uncommon, but important cause for presentation to the Emergency Department. Pain may be the result of acute or chronic injury. 


  • assessment
    • history
      • history of trauma?
      • previous injury?
    • examination
      • pain - location, type
      • range of motion at the shoulder
      • distal neurovascular status
  • investigation
    • shoulder x-ray (AP + Y-view)
      • simple, cheap and easy to assess
      • chronic pathology
        • osteoarthritis
        • calcific tendinitis
    • other investigation
      • shoulder US
        • chronic pain and rotator cuff injury
      • shoulder CT
        • complicated shoulder fractures
      • shoulder MRI
        • follow up imaging following looking for labral tear
Common pathology

ADVERTISEMENT: Supporters see fewer/no ads

Updating… Please wait.

 Unable to process the form. Check for errors and try again.

 Thank you for updating your details.