Simon Balster

Simon Balster

Simon Balster is a Consultant Shoulder Physiotherapist. 

He has devoted the last 20 years of his professional life to clinical assessment, diagnosis and management of shoulder orthopedic and specific upper quadrant neurological conditions.  He consults at Melbourne Shoulder Group and Melbourne Orthopaedic Group working closely with Mr Greg Hoy, Mr Shane Barwood and Dr Lyn Watson. 

He and Dr Lyn Watson have created the Melbourne Shoulder Group with Ross Lenssen, Dr Sarah Warby and Kat Davis.  The Melb.Sh.Group have professional and research associations with Melbourne Orthopedic Group, Victoria House Medical Imaging, Latrobe University, Australia and Western University in Ontario Canada.  They are widely published and have been presenting their highly regarded Shoulder Orthopedic Physiotherapy Courses around Australia and Overseas (UK, Canada, France, Norway, USA) for the past 25 years.


In Detail

Simon Balster graduated from the University of Melbourne in 1991 with a Bachelor of Science, Honours in Biochemistry. He then went on to complete a Bachelor of Physiotherapy with Honours from The University of Queensland (graduating in 1995). He completed his Honours research and thesis under the supervision of Prof. Gwen Jull and his thesis was published in Manual Therapy (see below) the year after he graduated.

After working in Hydrotherapy and Sports Medicine practices in Brisbane for two years, Simon returned to Melbourne in 1997 to continue physiotherapy in Melbourne. Today Simon specialises in the assessment, diagnosis and treatment of shoulder and shoulder girdle problems. Working at Melbourne Shoulder Group and Melbourne Orthopaedic Group, he treats a wide variety of post-operative, sporting and occupational orthopedic shoulder conditions.

Simon has worked alongside Lyn Watson since 1997 developing his skills in assessing, diagnosing, treating and managing the full spectrum musculoskeletal shoulder problems. He also, works closely with Shoulder Orthopaedic Surgeons around Melbourne and often attends surgery with Mr Shane Barwood and Mr Greg Hoy at Melbourne Orthopedic Group.

Simon has conducted clinical research and been involved in published papers in Manual Therapy and British Journal of Sports Medicine on the topics of Neural Tension Testing in the Shoulder Girdle, Scapular Biomechanics & Measurement, Clinical Outcomes following Hydrodilatation, Thoracic Outlet Syndrome and Multidirectional Instability of the Shoulder (see below). He also presented a paper on the Measurement of Scapula Upward Rotation at the 2004 MPA Conference in Sydney, Australia.

In addition to his busy clinical practice, Simon works closely with Lyn Waston, Tania Pizzari at Latrobe University and Greg Hoy and Shane Barwood at Melbourne Orthopedic Group on their many ongoing research programmes (MDI, MISS Questionnaire, SLAP Tests & Hydrodilatation). This research had led to publications in peer-reviewed journals, Manual Therapy and British Journal of Sports Medicine.

In 2005, due to requests from their peers Lyn and Simon began working on an educational resource to assist physiotherapists with the many assessment tests of the shoulder. This culminated in the General Assessment of the Shoulder, a CD-Rom/App that details and discusses every shoulder assessment tool used by Lyn Watson. Each test with a detailed description, photo or video of the technique and a discussion on the clinical interpretations, variations and follow up tests. The second resource in this series is Exercise and Rehabilitation of the Shoulder. A CD-Rom/App that details every exercise that we would use within the clinic with a description, patient instructions, progressions and variations, clinical considerations and an image and video of the exercise being performed.

Simon has also been involved in lecturing, teaching and tutoring on a variety of shoulders topics;

  1. Lyn Watsons Shoulder Courses; Level 1, 2 & 3 for the last 12 years
  2. Shoulder Impingement: Presentation, Assessment, Diagnosis and Management
    -Australian Physiotherapy Association Recent Graduates Programme (2012)
  3. Posterior Instability of the Shoulder
    -Tennis Australia Medical and Physiotherapy Team (2011)
  4. Shoulder Instability and Rehabilitation in Australian Rules Football
    -Lecture and Instability Group Panellist
    -AFL Grand Final Medical Symposium 2010
  5. Scapula Assessment and Rehabilitation
    -Specialist Physiotherapy Study Group (2010)
  6. Assessment of the Shoulder in Swimming & Triathlon
    - for the Sports Physiotherapist APA Group Victoria
  7. Assessment of the Shoulder (2010)
    - for the Australian Sonographaphers Radiologists
  8. Thoracic Outlet Syndrome 2 Day Course
    - for the QLD APA (with Jane Rooney, Specialist Physiotherapist)


  1. Balster S. Jull G. 1997, Upper trapezius muscle activity during the brachial plexus tension test in asymptomatic subjects. Manual Therapy 3(2):144-149
  2. Watson L, Balster S, Finch C and Dalziel R. 2005, Measurement of Scapula Upward Rotation: A Reliable Clinical Procedure. British Journal of Sports Medicine 39:599-603.
  3. Watson L, Pizzari T, Balster S. 2009, Thoracic outlet syndrome part 1: Clinical Manifestations, differentiation and treatment pathways. Manual Therapy, 14(6):586-595
  4. Watson L, Pizzari T, Balster S. 2010, Thoracic outlet syndrome part 2: Conservative management of thoracic outlet syndrome. Manual Therapy 15(4):305-314
  5. Watson L, Bialocerkowski A, Dalziel R, Balster S, Burke F, Finch C. 2007, Hydrodilatation (Distension Arthrography); A Long Term Clinical Outcome Series. British Journal of Sports Medicine 41:167-173