Critical Thinking in Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy

Course code PHTY3100
Available in 2016
2015 Course Timetables


Higher level analytical and clinical reasoning skills in the assessment and management of musculoskeletal disorders. This course emphasises the critical thinking process in examination, problem analysis and treatment prescription extensively using a case based approach.



  • Semester 2 - 2016

Learning Outcomes

1. Apply biomedical and behavioural scientific knowledge to the evaluation and management of complex musculoskeletal disorders

2. Demonstrate a well developed clinical reasoning and evidence based approach to decision-making in musculoskeletal physiotherapy clinical practice

3. Understand the role of diagnostic statistics in evaluation of musculoskeletal disorders

4. Adapt the clinical examination for more complex disorders of the musculoskeletal system, integrating advanced physical examination procedures

5. Appropriately select, modify as necessary, and correctly demonstrate advanced active and passive treatment procedures commonly used in the management of musculoskeletal dysfunction

6. Apply sophisticated treatment evaluation and intervention outcome processes appropriate for musculoskeletal physiotherapy practice


  1. Clinical reasoning skills needed for planning and interpreting the clinical examination of more complex musculoskeletal disorders, in addition to planning and implementing an individual rehabilitation program
  2. Multidisciplinary approach to the management of selected complex musculoskeletal disorders
  3. Exercise prescription: advanced procedures/preventive applications, indications/contraindications, adaptation and progression, including, strengthening, conditioning, periodisation
  4. Biopsychosocial models for the management of persistent pain
  5. Psychosocial considerations in managing patients with selected complex musculoskeletal disorders, including chronic pain and psychosocial risk factors (flags)
  6. Sophisticated outcome measures, including the reliability, validity and responsiveness of functional measures
  7. Modify and progress advanced musculoskeletal physiotherapy interventions in response to changes in outcome measures
  8. The use of statistical processes such as clinical prediction rules and diagnostic statistics and their role within a clinical reasoning context

Replacing Course(s)

This course replaces the following course(s): PHTY3040. Students who have successfully completed PHTY3040 are not eligible to enrol in PHTY3100.


This course is only available to students enrolled in the Bachelor of Physiotherapy (Honours) program.

Assumed Knowledge


Assessment Items

Formal Examination: Formal Exam

Case Study / Problem Based Learning: Clinical Reasoning Case Exercises x 4

Case Study / Problem Based Learning: Clinical Reasoning Case Examination

Contact Hours


Integrated Learning Session

Face to Face On Campus 2 hour(s) per Week for 9 Weeks

Tutorial, lecture and Case Study components will take place in Weeks 1-5 and 10-13. Total 60 hours.


Face to Face On Campus 1 hour(s) per Week for 9 Weeks


Face to Face On Campus 3 hour(s) per Week for 9 Weeks