About Us

Welcome to the Shoulder Community of Practice. The site has been developed for healthcare professionals, particularly physiotherapists, who manage patients with common shoulder problems. This site was developed with assistance of over 100 physiotherapists who attended the seminar “Evidence-Based Management of Rotator Cuff Tendinopathy“, which took place on April 5th 2013 at the University of Limerick, Ireland and was funded by the Health Research Board of Ireland.

What is a Community of Practice?


A Community of Practice (CoP) is a group of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly (Wenger 1998). Three characteristics determine a CoP. These are the domain, the community and the practice, as illustrated in Figure 1 (Wenger 1998). Activities which occur within a CoP include problem solving, requesting new information and seeking experience, reusing assets, discussing developments, mapping knowledge and identifying gaps (Wenger 1998).

A major challenge to integrating evidence into practice is that it involves a complex process of acquiring and converting both explicit and inferred knowledge into clinical activities (Li et al 2009). The CoP may work to identify the barriers to integration of evidence into practice and develop solutions to overcome these barriers.

Why a Shoulder Community of Practice?

Achieving evidence-based management of shoulder problems, for example rotator cuff tendinopathies, is a significant challenge for clinicians (Scott et al 2013). An example of this is the lack of consistency of outcome measures in shoulder pathology, which is a barrier identified by clinicians in the translation of research into clinical practice (Scott et al 2013). Barriers to achieving evidence-based practice include:

  • Lack of time to search for evidence
  • Too much evidence available
  • Lack of relevant applicable evidence
  • Evidence being scattered through a number of databases/journals
  • Limited availability of free text evidence
  • Limited confidence and competence in appraising quality of evidence
  • Lack of applicability of the evidence to heterogeneous patient population
  • Publication bias
  • Lack of autonomy
  • Lack of incentives
  • Clinicians’ personal attitudes/intrinsic motivation
  • Patients’ expectations

(Hannes et al 2009; Dijkers et al 2012; Valdes et al 2012)

If you can identify with any of these barriers, then the Shoulder CoP website can assist you in achieving evidence-based management of patients with common shoulder problems.

The Shoulder CoP website addresses some of the barriers to achieving evidence-based management of shoulder patients. On the site you will find:

Blog: Discussion of recent shoulder research

Shoulder Pain Conditions: information on common shoulder problems, including rotator cuff tendinopathy and frozen shoulder

Other Resources: Exercise videos, Assessment and treatment resources for physiotherapists, patient education leaflets

The Health Research Board of Ireland supported this website and Community of Practice through their Knowledge Exchange and Dissemination Award which aims to maximise the uptake of research findings into policy and/or practice. The Shoulder Community of Practice project is co-ordinated by Karen McCreesh at the Dept of Clinical Therapies, University of Limerick, Ireland. Contact me by sending an email to: karen.mccreesh@ul.ie