The validity and intra-tester reliability of a clinical measure of humeral head position

Leanda McKenna, Leon Straker, Anne Smith

The purpose of this study was to determine the degree of criterion validity and intra-tester reliability of humeral head palpation in subjects with shoulder pathology. The study also sought to determine whether there was any effect of arm position on humeral head position in subjects with shoulder pathology. In a same day repeated measures design, 27 subjects had the distance between the most anterior portion of the humeral head and the anterior edge of the acromion measured by a radiologist using MRI (supine), and by a physiotherapist using palpation and photography.

Significant differences between the positions of sit neutral and sit with abduction were found. Humeral head palpation in sit abduction demonstrates sufficient validity and reliability for clinical use.

Manual Therapy, 18 September 2008, online article ahead of print

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