EXERSCI 733 : Musculoskeletal Outpatients


2022 Semester One (1223) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

Students will evaluate assessments, planning and delivery of interventions for clients with musculoskeletal, orthopaedic, women’s health and rheumatologic conditions across the lifespan. Client scenarios will develop clinical reasoning skills underpinning safe, effective and holistic delivery of therapy. Students will learn to formulate differential diagnoses, prioritise clinical problems and implement an evidence-based treatment plan, using manual therapy, exercise and modality-based interventions.

Course Overview

The course will provide students with the knowledge, communication, clinical reasoning and practical skills to manage clients with musculoskeletal, women’s health, orthopaedic and rheumatologic conditions. Students will use a biopsychosocial approach informed by the latest research evidence base. As a core part of the course, students will complete two hours each week in the University clinic to develop their skills.
Students will develop the communication and practical skills needed to competently assess and safely and effectively treat clients, to predict and evaluate outcomes as well as develop programmes for promotion of good musculoskeletal health from the prevention of injury, the prevention of recurrence of injury and the promotion of health outcomes. Client scenarios will develop clinical reasoning skills underpinning safe, effective and holistic delivery of therapy. Students will learn to formulate differential diagnoses prioritise clinical problems and implement an evidence-based treatment plan using manual therapy, exercise prescription and modality-based interventions. The interdisciplinary nature of care of disorders will be discussed, and the physiotherapist’s role and responsibilities in the health care team will be explored.

Course Requirements

Corequisite: EXERSCI 731, 732, 734

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 1: Disciplinary Knowledge and Practice
Capability 2: Critical Thinking
Capability 3: Solution Seeking
Capability 4: Communication and Engagement
Capability 5: Independence and Integrity
Capability 6: Social and Environmental Responsibilities

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Critically analyse the clinical assessment, treatment planning and physiotherapy management of clients with musculoskeletal, orthopaedic and rheumatologic conditions in the outpatient setting using client scenarios to support holistic delivery of therapy (Capability 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5)
  2. Effectively demonstrate a range of effective communication skills, including verbal, nonverbal, and written formats; to clearly and coherently present knowledge to a variety of individuals by adjusting communication to accommodate the specific individual (Capability 1 and 4)
  3. Effectively demonstrate skills for a competent physiotherapy assessment of a musculoskeletal, orthopaedic and rheumatologic clinical presentation, identify those arising from other causes not relevant to physiotherapy management or those requiring interdisciplinary management (Capability 1, 3, 4 and 5)
  4. Demonstration of critical thinking in the clinical reasoning process involving interpretation and analysis of assessment findings necessary for effective assessment of clients’ abilities, problems and needs and the treatment of musculoskeletal, orthopaedic and rheumatologic system conditions. (Capability 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5)
  5. Demonstrate the ability to apply an evidence-based framework of health care, accountability and responsibility to the client and the health care team. (Capability 1, 2, 3 and 5)
  6. Demonstrate effective integration of Maori and Pacific models of health and wellbeing into the planning and equitable delivery of physiotherapy provision for clients with musculoskeletal, orthopaedic and rheumatologic conditions (Capability 1, 2, 3, 4 and 6)
  7. Demonstrate the ability to research, identify and describe physiotherapy treatment modalities for musculoskeletal, orthopaedic and rheumatologic conditions (Capability 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6)
  8. Critically reflect on the management, within the interdisciplinary team, of clients with musculoskeletal, orthopaedic and rheumatologic conditions and development strategies for self-improvement (Capability 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Assignments 40% Individual Coursework
Practical 40% Individual Test
Test 20% Individual Test
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

The practical test must be passed (50%) to pass the course

Key Topics

  • Introduction to assessment of musculoskeletal function (anatomy recap, muscle testing, joint range of movement and cultural considerations to assessment and treatment of musculoskeletal conditions)
  • Functional and postural assessment (biomechanical and gait)
  • Lower limb assessment – hip and knee
  • Lower limb assessment – ankle and foot
  • Lumbar and thoracic spine assessment
  • Cervical spine assessment
  • Upper limb assessment – shoulder and elbow (including diagnostic ultrasound)
  • Upper limb assessment - hand

Special Requirements

Practical test must be passed (50%) to pass the course
An overall pass mark of 50% must be obtained to pass the course

Workload Expectations

This course is a standard 15 point course and students are expected to spend 10 hours per week involved in each 15 point course that they are enrolled in.

For this course, you can expect 36 hours of lectures, 18 hours of labs, 54 hours of reading and thinking about the content and 42 hours of work on assignments and/or test preparation.

Delivery Mode

Campus Experience

Attendance is required at scheduled activities including labs/clinics to complete components of the course.
Lectures will be available as recordings. Other learning activities including labs will not be available as recordings.
The course will not include live online events.
Attendance on campus is [required/not required] for the [test/exam].
The activities for the course are scheduled as a block delivery.

Learning Resources

Course materials are made available in a learning and collaboration tool called Canvas which also includes reading lists and lecture recordings (where available).

Please remember that the recording of any class on a personal device requires the permission of the instructor.

Brukner P and Khan K (2017). Brukner and Khan's Clinical Sports Medicine. (5th ed) Sydney: McGraw-Hill. ISBN: 9781743761380
Cleland J, Koppenhaver S (2015). Netter's Orthopaedic Clinical Examination - An Evidence-Based Approach. (3rd Ed) Philadelphia. Elsevier. ISBN:9780323340632
Magee DJ (2014) Orthopedic Physical Assessment. (6th ed) Philadelphia: W.B. Saunders. ISBN: 9781455709779
Ceal (2010). Functional Anatomy: Musculoskeletal Anatomy, Kinesiology and Palpation for Manual Therapist. Philadeliphia: Lippicott Williams and Wilkins.
Perry, Jacquelin. Gait analysis : normal and pathological function / Jacquelin Perry ; illustrated by Bill Schoneberger. Publisher Thorofare, N.J. : Slack,(1992) pp. 51-130
NZ Acute Low Back Pain Guide http://www.acc.co.nz/PRD_EXT_CSMP/groups/external_communications/documents/guide/prd_ctrb112930.pdf 
NHMRC evidence-based management of acute musculoskeletal pain
https://www.nhmrc.gov.au/guidelines-publications/cp94-cp95 (https://www.nhmrc.gov.au/guidelines-publications/cp94-cp95)
NICE national institute for health and care excellence - low back pain in adults: early management - November 2016
https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/NG59 (https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/NG59)
Robinson (2013). Lower extremity pain of lumbar spine origin: differentiating somatic referred and radicular pain. Journal of Manual and Manipulative Therapy. 11 (4), 223-234
Donatelli R (2011). Physical therapy of the shoulder (5th Edition). St. Louis : Churchill Livingstone.
Ellenbecker T (2006). Shoulder rehabilitation: non-operative treatment. New York: Thieme.
Hengeveld, E., & Banks, K. (2014). Maitland's Peripheral Manipulation : Management of Neuromusculoskeletal Disorders, Volume 2 (5th ed.). London:Elsevier Health Sciences UK.
Maitland GD, Hengeveld E, Banks K, English K (2005) Maitland’s Vertebral Manipulation. (7th ed.) London: Butterworths.
Jull G, Sterling M, Falla D, Treleaven J, O'Leary S (2008) Whiplash, Headache and Neck Pain: research-based directions for physical therapies. (1st Edition): Elsevier
Jull, G, Falla, D, Treleaven, J, O'Leary, S (2019). Management of neck pain disorders: A research- informed approach. (1st Edition): Elsevier

Student Feedback

During the course Class Representatives in each class can take feedback to the staff responsible for the course and staff-student consultative committees.

At the end of the course students will be invited to give feedback on the course and teaching through a tool called SET or Qualtrics. The lecturers and course co-ordinators will consider all feedback.

Your feedback helps to improve the course and its delivery for all students.

Academic Integrity

The University of Auckland will not tolerate cheating, or assisting others to cheat, and views cheating in coursework as a serious academic offence. The work that a student submits for grading must be the student's own work, reflecting their learning. Where work from other sources is used, it must be properly acknowledged and referenced. This requirement also applies to sources on the internet. A student's assessed work may be reviewed against online source material using computerised detection mechanisms.

Class Representatives

Class representatives are students tasked with representing student issues to departments, faculties, and the wider university. If you have a complaint about this course, please contact your class rep who will know how to raise it in the right channels. See your departmental noticeboard for contact details for your class reps.


The content and delivery of content in this course are protected by copyright. Material belonging to others may have been used in this course and copied by and solely for the educational purposes of the University under license.

You may copy the course content for the purposes of private study or research, but you may not upload onto any third party site, make a further copy or sell, alter or further reproduce or distribute any part of the course content to another person.

Inclusive Learning

All students are asked to discuss any impairment related requirements privately, face to face and/or in written form with the course coordinator, lecturer or tutor.

Student Disability Services also provides support for students with a wide range of impairments, both visible and invisible, to succeed and excel at the University. For more information and contact details, please visit the Student Disability Services’ website http://disability.auckland.ac.nz

Special Circumstances

If your ability to complete assessed coursework is affected by illness or other personal circumstances outside of your control, contact a member of teaching staff as soon as possible before the assessment is due.

If your personal circumstances significantly affect your performance, or preparation, for an exam or eligible written test, refer to the University’s aegrotat or compassionate consideration page https://www.auckland.ac.nz/en/students/academic-information/exams-and-final-results/during-exams/aegrotat-and-compassionate-consideration.html.

This should be done as soon as possible and no later than seven days after the affected test or exam date.

Learning Continuity

In the event of an unexpected disruption, we undertake to maintain the continuity and standard of teaching and learning in all your courses throughout the year. If there are unexpected disruptions the University has contingency plans to ensure that access to your course continues and course assessment continues to meet the principles of the University’s assessment policy. Some adjustments may need to be made in emergencies. You will be kept fully informed by your course co-ordinator/director, and if disruption occurs you should refer to the university website for information about how to proceed.

The delivery mode may change depending on COVID restrictions. Any changes will be communicated through Canvas.

Student Charter and Responsibilities

The Student Charter assumes and acknowledges that students are active participants in the learning process and that they have responsibilities to the institution and the international community of scholars. The University expects that students will act at all times in a way that demonstrates respect for the rights of other students and staff so that the learning environment is both safe and productive. For further information visit Student Charter https://www.auckland.ac.nz/en/students/forms-policies-and-guidelines/student-policies-and-guidelines/student-charter.html.


Elements of this outline may be subject to change. The latest information about the course will be available for enrolled students in Canvas.

In this course students may be asked to submit coursework assessments digitally. The University reserves the right to conduct scheduled tests and examinations for this course online or through the use of computers or other electronic devices. Where tests or examinations are conducted online remote invigilation arrangements may be used. In exceptional circumstances changes to elements of this course may be necessary at short notice. Students enrolled in this course will be informed of any such changes and the reasons for them, as soon as possible, through Canvas.

Published on 31/10/2021 02:25 p.m.