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The University of Southampton

PSIO1019 Foundations of Physiotherapy Practice

Module Overview

This module underpins broad physiotherapeutic practice by providing students with the ability to understand and analyse normal movement. It will facilitate the move from the theoretical understanding of anatomy to its practical application. It will teach the student the surface marking of anatomical structures (nerves, blood vessels) and the palpation of bones, joints, muscles, ligaments and tendons. It provides the fundamental clinical skills required to assess and diagnose a neuromusculoskeletal problem

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

To give students the ability to apply theoretical knowledge and understanding to the physical body. Aims are a General statement of Intent, in broad terms, directions for the content of the course: 1. What is the purpose of this programme/module of study? 2. What is the programme/module intended to achieve?

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Describe and distinguish different types of movement and muscle action.
  • Explain the relevance / application of anatomy to function and physiological / structural change.
  • Describe and analyse: • normal functional human movement (identifying abnormal movement components) • basic postures • gait patterns
  • Translate specific principles from physics, biomechanics and ergonomics to normal human function; explaining the principles and application of measurement techniques based on biomechanics or electrophysiology.
  • Demonstrate skill in the localisation of bony points, joint lines and soft tissue structures, the application of selected clinical tests and the measurement of passive/active ROM of a joint with a goniometer.
  • Understand and prescribe clinical exercise for strengthening, flexibility, proprioception and mobility.
  • Prescribe and teaching the safe and effective use of walking aids.


This module provides an introduction to the analysis of normal human movement (kinesiology). Initially this will include fundamental issues (planes, axes, anatomical terminology, types of movement & muscle action and basic biomechanics). Having attained the core concepts students will learn to analyse simple movement patterns of the limbs. Students will progress to analyse posture, simple gait patterns and simple movement patterns of the trunk; establishing clear links to anatomy, physiology, biomechanics and neurology. Common signs and symptoms related to the musculoskeletal will be considered. The use of electrophysiological methods of measurement (real time ultrasound) will be demonstrated and discussed. Fundamental skills of goniometry, muscle testing and specific clinical tests will be taught following a logical progression through the body. The module builds on knowledge gained from Health Sciences for Physiotherapy.

Special Features

Where the module includes special features such as a field trips or study abroad, it should be made clear how students with special needs will be enabled to benefit from this or an equivalent experience (for example, ensuring women-only accommodation is available and that special dietary requirements can be met, or providing equivalent learning opportunities without requiring overnight stays).

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Key-note lectures will be used to introduce the fundamental principles and theoretical base of the core areas studied. Significant emphasis will be placed on the learning of ‘hands on’ clinical skills and the application of these skills to further understanding of anatomy, physiology and analytical techniques Lectures and group work will be followed by practical sessions to develop competency in the safe and effective use of analysis, palpation and assessment techniques. The practical sessions will include demonstrations and the use of case studies for clinical relevance. Students will be given directed study activities and guidance to facilitate further self-directed study. Students will be expected to present such topics for discussion amongst their peers.

Wider reading or practice28
Practical classes and workshops40
Follow-up work40
Preparation for scheduled sessions20
Total study time188

Resources & Reading list


Lennon S & Stokes M (Eds.) (2008). Pocketbook of Neurological Physiotherapy. 

Sue Raine, Linzi Meadows, Mary Lynch-Ellerington (Editors) (2009). Bobath Concept: Theory and Clinical Practice in Neurological Rehabilitation. 

Where the module includes special features such as a field trips or study abroad, it should be made clear how students with special needs will be enabled to benefit from this or an equivalent experience (for example, ensuring women-only accommodation is a. 

Stokes M Stack E (Ed.) (2013). Physical Management for Neurological Conditions [Formerly Physical Management in Neurological Rehabilitation]. 

Mary Anne Broad, Mathew Quint, Sandy Thomas, Paul Twose (2012). Cardiorespiratory Assessment of the Adult Patient, A clinicians guide. 

Stephen Bourke, Graham Burns, (2011). Respiratory Medicine, Lecture notes. 

Churchill Livingstone (2002). Chest X rays Made Easy. 

Delva Shamely (Ed) (2005). Pathophysiology an Essential text for the Allied health professions. 

Carr J & Shepherd R (2003). Stroke rehabilitation: guidelines for exercise and training to optimize motor skill. 

West J.B. (1995). Respiratory Physiology- The Essentials. 

Reading and reference list can be found on the Blackboard site this site also contains key guidelines and a selection of research evidence. There are links to websites and a selection of videos that support the students’ lear. 

Journals. • Australian Journal of Physiotherapy • BMJ • Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery • Manual Therapy • Pain • Physical Therapy • Physical Therapy Reviews • Physiotherapy • Physiotherapy Index • Physiotherapy Canada • Physiotherapy Theory and Practice • Spine

Hengeveld, E and Banks, K. (2013). Maitlands Vertebral Manipulation. 

Physiotherapy for Respiratory and Cardiac Problems (2002). Physiotherapy for Respiratory and Cardiac Problems. 

Edwards S (Ed.) (2002). Neurological Physiotherapy: a problem solving approach. 

Carr J & Shepherd R (2010). Neurological Rehabilitation: Optimizing motor performance. 

Hengeveld, E and Banks, K. (2013). Maitlands Peripheral Manipulation. 

Higgs J., Jones M., Loftus S., and Christensen N. (2008). Clinical reasoning in the health professions. 

Gillian Mead, Frederike van Wijck (2012). Exercise and Fitness Training After Stroke. 

Shumway-Cook A and Woollacott MH (2012). Motor control : translating research into clinical practice. 

Hough, A. (2014). Physiotherapy in Respiratory Care: An evidence based approach to respiratory and cardiac management. 

Low J & Reed A (1999). Electrotherapy Explained. 

Petty, N.J. and Moore, A.P. (2001). Neuromusculoskeletal Examination & Assessment. 

Aehlert , B. (2002). ECG’s made easy, pocket reference. 

Harden, B. (Ed) (2004). Emergency Physiotherapy. An on-call survival guide. 



MethodPercentage contribution
Objective Structured Practical Examination (OSPE)  (30 minutes) 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Objective Structured Practical Examination (OSPE) 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: External

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