Reliability of Function-Related Tests in Patients With Shoulder Pathologies

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Study Design:



To investigate the intertester and intratester reliability of a battery of function-related tests in patients with shoulder pathologies and associated reduced range of motion.


A battery of function-related tests has the potential to complement assessment of functional limitation in patients who have shoulder pathologies.

Methods and Measures:

Three function-related tests (hand to neck, hand to scapula, and hand to opposite scapula) were conducted on 46 patients with shoulder pathologies, and 46 age- and gender-matched control subjects. The tests were performed by 2 independent physiotherapists to test intertester reliability. Intratester reliability was examined by investigating the reproducibility of the tests performed twice, with 3 to 5 days between tests, by the same physiotherapist. Comparison of the scores on the function-related tests between patients and controls was evaluated. A correlation matrix was calculated to test the level of association among the tests.


Intratester and intertester reliability on the 3 tests (weighted κ) varied from 0.83 to 0.90. The patient's test performances were decreased in comparison to the control group. The correlation matrix demonstrated a level of associations among the 3 tests varying from r = 0.64 to r = 0.66.


The results of this study indicate that function-related tests are reliable and could be used in clinical practice to document reduced function of the shoulder. The level of association among the tests indicates that each test measured different aspects of shoulder function.

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