Interobserver reliability of physical examination of shoulder girdle

The object of this study was to assess interobserver reliability in 23 tests concerning physical examination of the shoulder girdle.  In 91 patients the observers assessed 23 items in total: active and passive abductions, passive external rotation, hand in neck (HIN) test, hand in back (HIB) test, impingement test according to Neer, springing test of the first rib and joint play test of the acromioclavicular joint.  The results showed that in total 11 items fulfilled the criteria of acceptable reliability.

There appears to be a great deal of variation in the reliability of the tests used in the physical examination of the shoulder girdle. Over 50% of the tests assessed in this study did not meet the statistical criteria for acceptable reliability.

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