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Rehabilitation of the Burned Shoulder: Introduction and Basic Concepts







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About the Course

The shoulder is a complex and highly mobile joint, and its proper function is essential for accomplishing a wide range of activities of daily living that involve reaching and lifting, as well as serving as proximal support for hand manipulation movements. Unfortunately, after a burn injury, scar tissue can develop in the shoulder area, causing pain, stiffness and reduced range of motion, restricting the ability of the shoulder joint to move freely. Severe scar contracture can pull the shoulder joint out of its normal position, resulting in more permanent deformity and further limiting shoulder mobility. In addition, in the long term, the accumulated effect of immobilization, compensatory movements or posture caused by pain, as well as scar contracture can cause muscle imbalance, leading to muscle tightness or weakness, which will affect the movement of the shoulder joint. 

Understanding how burns impact shoulder function is essential to be able to correctly identify problems and their cause, and select interventions that can achieve the best outcome possible. This course will present concepts to establish basic knowledge of shoulder anatomy and shoulder joint activities, as well as factors that can cause abnormal scapulohumeral rhythm after burns, to allow therapists to evaluate and treat shoulder problems after burns more accurately.

Course objectives

After this training, the participant will be able to:

  • Describe the anatomy of the shoulder and key muscles for shoulder joint movement.

  • Explain the rhythm of movements between the scapula, humerus and clavicle (scapular humorous rhythm).

  • Explain the factors that cause scapulohumeral rhythm abnormalities after burns.

Course content

  • Anatomy of the shoulder: bones, joints, joint movements and relevant muscles.

  • Introduction to scapulo-humeral rhythm, including the movements between the scapula and humerus, and common physical examination methods.

  • Factors causing abnormal scapulo-humeral rhythm after burns, including prolonged immobilization, compensatory postures or movements caused by pain, and scar contracture.


The following evaluations will be done:

  • Pre-test to assess the level of basic knowledge of the participants.

  • Mini quiz after each lesson to review the key points of the lesson.

  • Post-test to evaluate the improvement of the knowledge of the participants.

Approval criteria:

  • Completion of all course elements within the allotted time period.

  • Post-test score of 80% and above.

The participant will need to complete all learning activities before the end of the training, after that date the participant will no longer have access to the course content and the learning record will be marked as "incomplete".

Upon successful completion of the course, the participant will receive a certificate of completion.

This course is for

Physiotherapists and Occupational Therapists working in burns.

Other burn professionals interested in learning more about this topic.


Ching-Yuan LIN

Ching-Yuan LIN
Shiou-Han YANG

Shiou-Han YANG

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