Assessment appointment
for your shoulder

Your physician has sent a referral to the Edmonton Bone and Joint Centre to have your shoulder assessed. The purpose of this assessment appointment is for the assessment team (physical therapist and assessment physician) to determine the nature of your shoulder problem and the best plan for management.

If conservative management has failed or you have sustained an injury that requires surgical intervention, the assessment physician will refer you for surgical consult. There is a waitlist to see a surgeon and wait times can vary from a few months up to a year. For the majority of patients, surgery is not necessary. Most patients get better with conservative treatment such as physical therapy, injections, or condition-specific procedures.

Preparing for
your appointment

When you receive an appointment date there are a few things you need to do to prepare for your appointment. A physical therapist will be taking a history related to your shoulder problem. In addition, they will be taking a medical history. This means they will be asking you about any medical conditions and surgeries you have had. Please have a complete list of the names of the medications you are currently taking.

We will also be asking you about the treatments you have had for your shoulder problem. This includes injections, procedures and physical therapy. If you have had or are going for physical therapy, we will be asking where you went for treatment, how long, and what exercises you were given as part of your treatment. Please have this information ready and available for your appointment.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some assessment surgeons are conducting their appointments over the phone. For more information on how to prepare for your virtual appointment, please see our ‘Guide to Virtual Appointments

What you need to bring to your appointment

• List of medications you are currently taking

• Name of physical therapy clinic you went to and for how long

• Physical therapy home exercises

During your appointment

During your appointment, your history will be taken and the physical therapist will assess your shoulder. Using this information, as well as any imaging you may have had performed, the assessment physician will decide on a management plan and discuss this with you. A letter explaining this management plan will be sent to your referring doctor or physical therapist.