Successful treatment of any pathologic condition of the shoulder requires an accurate diagnosis. Physical examination represents an integral part in the assessment of shoulder disorders. Pain, loss of strength, decreased range of motion and instability are the most common symptoms that can be caused by a great variety of different shoulder pathologies. Therefore, a sophisticated clinical approach is essential. A standardized evaluation including different diagnostic tests and clinical signs improves diagnostic accuracy by specifically examining one component of the shoulder complex. In most cases a careful physical examination will establish or suggest a diagnosis and special investigative techniques such as imaging procedures can be applied more selectively for confirmation or further evaluation of the pathological entity.