A review of the Shoulder Joint Anatomy may be beneficial before considering the principles and concepts of the shoulder examination.
A shoulder examination should be performed in a systematic manner.  First, the shoulder is carefully inspected visually, followed by palpation and range-of-motion assessment. Strength testing is then performed. If indicated, functional assessment is performed next and may be followed by a neurological assessment, as necessary. Other special tests may then be performed, followed lastly by painful movements.
Specific details of each phase of the shoulder examination are discussed under Technique.