Does physiotherapy diagnosis of shoulder pathology compare to arthroscopic findings?

Journal Article

To explore the ability of a physiotherapist, using a standardised musculoskeletal physiotherapy assessment protocol, to accurately identify the structures potentially responsible for shoulder symptoms against a standardised arthroscopic shoulder diagnostic assessment, and to determine the physiotherapists' ability to influence post-test diagnostic accuracy.Consecutive case-based cohort study.All participants were selected by two orthopaedic surgeons for arthroscopic investigation during a 6-month period.Private orthopaedic clinic.All consenting participants selected for arthroscopic investigation were examined by the physiotherapist prior to arthroscopy. Presence and priority of impairments/diagnoses were recorded on a standardised form. Inter and intra-rater reliability and diagnostic accuracy were tabulated.Proportional agreement on diagnostic incidence (broad) and priority (strict) using 2×2 contingency tables for sensitivity, specificity, positive and negative predictive value and positive and negative likelihood ratios were calculated. Post-test probabilities were analysed to determine the influence of a positive or a negative finding.211 participants, aged 14-79 years were included. Overall prevalence of subacromial pathology was (77%) and, disorders of the passive restraints (29%). For both negative and positive findings, post-test probabilities were not notably altered; although positive findings yielded greater value in the decision-making modelling. The physiotherapist's ability to identify individual pathology (eg, tendon rupture vs tendinopathy, capsular vs labral) was lower than recognition of pathology within the broader diagnostic category.The physiotherapist's ability to diagnose individual pathologies was inconsistent. Indirectly, this raises the issue of whether signs and symptoms identified under arthroscopic surgery are reflective of a lesion/pathology reflective of a specific tissue.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Magarey, ME; Jones, MA; Cook, CE; Hayes, MG

Published Date

  • September 2016

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 50 / 18

Start / End Page

  • 1151 - 1157

PubMed ID

  • 26511004

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1473-0480

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0306-3674

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1136/bjsports-2014-094339


  • eng