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Diagnostic accuracy of scapular physical examination tests for shoulder disorders: a systematic review
  1. Alexis A Wright1,
  2. Craig A Wassinger2,
  3. Mason Frank3,
  4. Lori A Michener4,
  5. Eric J Hegedus1
  1. 1Department of Physical Therapy, High Point University, School of Health Sciences, High Point, North Carolina, USA
  2. 2Department of Physical Therapy, East Tennessee State University, College of Clinical and Rehabilitative Health Sciences, Johnson City, Tennessee, USA
  3. 3Department of Athletic Training, High Point University, School of Health Sciences, High Point, North Carolina, USA
  4. 4Department of Physical Therapy, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Alexis A Wright, Department of Physical Therapy, High Point University, School of Health Sciences, 833 Montlieu Ave., High Point, NC 27262, USA; awright{at}highpoint.edu

Abstract

Objective To systematically review and critique the evidence regarding the diagnostic accuracy of physical examination tests for the scapula in patients with shoulder disorders.

Methods A systematic, computerised literature search of PubMED, EMBASE, CINAHL and the Cochrane Library databases (from database inception through January 2012) using keywords related to diagnostic accuracy of physical examination tests of the scapula. The Quality Assessment of Diagnostic Accuracy Studies tool was used to critique the quality of each paper.

Results Eight articles met the inclusion criteria; three were considered to be of high quality. Of the three high-quality studies, two were in reference to a ‘diagnosis’ of shoulder pain. Only one high-quality article referenced specific shoulder pathology of acromioclavicular dislocation with reported sensitivity of 71% and 41% for the scapular dyskinesis and SICK scapula test, respectively.

Conclusions Overall, no physical examination test of the scapula was found to be useful in differentially diagnosing pathologies of the shoulder.

  • Shoulder injuries
  • Evidence based reviews

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