Current Concepts in Upper Limb Rehabilitation

The details
Sport, Rehabilitation and Exercise Sciences (School of)
Colchester Campus
Spring & Summer
Postgraduate: Level 7
Monday 13 January 2025
Friday 27 June 2025
20 March 2023


Requisites for this module



Key module for

DIP B166MO Advanced Musculoskeletal Assessment and Practice (Hand Therapy),
MSC B166MO Advanced Musculoskeletal Assessment and Practice (Hand Therapy)

Module description

This module is aimed at Allied Health Professionals (AHPs) working within the Musculoskeletal (MSK) field (including Hand Therapy) wishing to gain a greater understanding of current concepts in upper limb rehabilitation. This module is appropriate for clinicians working in both primary, secondary, and tertiary care.

The 'Multi-professional Advanced Clinical Practice (ACP) framework' was published in 2017 in response to ensure the long-term sustainability of the NHS. At the heart of this is development of a critical workforce role to deliver innovative models of care in a consistent way to ensuring safety, quality, and effectiveness. Core capabilities for health and care professionals are detailed in the framework, it is stated that:

'The language used to describe the capabilities is deliberately mapped to level 7 taxonomy to support and make clear the expectation that people working at this level are required to operate at master's level i.e. to have the ability to make sound judgements in the absence of full information and to manage varying levels of risk when there is complex, competing or ambiguous information or uncertainty.'

AHPs are central to the assessment and management of MSK conditions, their professional development towards advanced practice level supported by higher education institutions is essential to fulfilment of this vision. The framework sets out 4 key pillars of practice, each with a set of capabilities, this module and its assessment strategies aim to support professionals to evidence achievement of capability within these pillars.

Within the field of Hand Therapy educational routes to achievement of Accredited Hand Therapist qualification under the British Association of Hand Therapists (BAHT) and Advanced Practice in Hand Therapy include university-based masters modules. BAHT states:

'For a BAHT postgraduate education system to work and in order to increase the standing of Hand Therapyas a specialty in the United Kingdom we need to see more courses running.'
This module will add to Hand Therapists level 7 learning enabling them to work towards Advanced Practice status and provide additional options to achieve points towards the Accredited Hand Therapist qualification.

As most students are in full-time employment and located some distance to the university, this module enables remote study using e-learning technology, (Moodle) and remote tutorials via Zoom. The postgraduate musculoskeletal team at The University of Essex prioritise enabling study and minimising barriers; tutors will aim to be flexible with tutorial times and responsive to individual's clinical, professional, and personal circumstances.

Module aims

This module aims to provide students with critical understanding of the key concepts underlying advanced musculoskeletal rehabilitation of the upper limb beyond their normal professional scope of practice enabling them to manage a range of differentiated and undifferentiated musculoskeletal conditions.

Module learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module, the student will be able to demonstrate:

1. Critical evaluation of personal professional practice informed by current evidence.

2. The application of advanced clinical reasoning to manage complex presentations and individuals within a biopsychosocial model and considering the wider determinants of health.

3. Capability providing and modifying a range of person-centred interventions which may include traditional therapies (exercise prescription, pain management modalities, splinting, manual therapies) but also lifestyle advice and appropriate referral to other specialities or agencies.

4. A personal contribution and commitment to a culture of organisational learning

Module information

Themes covered will include:

Upper limb versus lower limb – implications for rehabilitation.
Graded motor imagery and sensorimotor approaches.
Exercise therapy.
Pain management and the upper limb.
Tendinopathy and tendon management.
Managing complex injury.
Managing complex patients (challenging thoughts and behaviours, biopsychosocial model, wider determinants of health).
Current concepts in management of arthropathies.
Work related upper limb disorders.
Orthopaedics and trauma.
Protocol and pathway driven care models.
Patient information and education.

Learning and teaching methods

Three weeks of online learning prior to face-to-face teaching. The online content will include resources to direct students’ learning and completion of tasks prior to the face-to-face content. Following this, two days of ‘face to face’ teaching (typically via a digital platform) will include lectures and interactive seminars. The module teaching material will be available to all registered students via the university's intranet learning platform, Moodle. The module leader will be available to answer queries via e-mail. Students will be registered with their appropriate professional body. They will be practicing clinicians within the field of musculoskeletal medicine.


The above list is indicative of the essential reading for the course.
The library makes provision for all reading list items, with digital provision where possible, and these resources are shared between students.
Further reading can be obtained from this module's reading list.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Coursework weighting
Coursework   Assignment 2    20% 
Coursework   Assignment 1     80% 

Exam format definitions

  • Remote, open book: Your exam will take place remotely via an online learning platform. You may refer to any physical or electronic materials during the exam.
  • In-person, open book: Your exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer to any physical materials such as paper study notes or a textbook during the exam. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, open book (restricted): The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer only to specific physical materials such as a named textbook during the exam. Permitted materials will be specified by your department. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, closed book: The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may not refer to any physical materials or electronic devices during the exam. There may be times when a paper dictionary, for example, may be permitted in an otherwise closed book exam. Any exceptions will be specified by your department.

Your department will provide further guidance before your exams.

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Mrs Sarah Golding, email:



External examiner

Mr Myles Butler
Sheffield Hallam University
Senior Lecturer Team Lead
Available via Moodle
No lecture recording information available for this module.


Further information

* Please note: due to differing publication schedules, items marked with an asterisk (*) base their information upon the previous academic year.

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