Interobserver reliability of physical examination of shoulder girdle

Jettie G. Nomden, Anton J. Slagers, Gert J.D. Bergman, Jan C. Winters, Thomas J.B. Kropmans, Pieter U. Dijkstra

The object of this study was to assess interobserver reliability in 23 tests concerning physical examination of the shoulder girdle.  A physical therapist and a physical therapist/manual therapist independently performed a physical examination of the shoulder girdle in 91 patients with shoulder complaints of varying severity and duration.  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.

There appears to be a great deal of variation in the reliability of the tests used in the physical examination of the shoulder girdle. In total 11 (48%) items fulfilled the criteria of acceptable reliability. Over 50% of the tests did not meet the statistical criteria for acceptable reliability.

Manual Therapy, 2009, 14(2), 152-159

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