To what extent do typical components of shoulder clinical evaluation explain upper-extremity disability? A cross-sectional study

Rodrigo Py Gonçalves Barreto, Paula M. Ludewig, Jonathan P. Braman, Ernest C Davenport, Larissa Pechincha Ribeiro, Paula Rezende Camargo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: Physical therapists use several evaluation measures to identify the most important factors related to disability. However, the degree to which these evaluation components explain shoulder disability is not well known and that may detract clinicians from the best clinical reasoning. Objective: To determine how much evaluation components explain shoulder function. Methods: Eighty-one individuals with unilateral shoulder pain for at least four weeks and meeting clinical exam criteria to exclude cervical referred pain, adhesive capsulitis, and shoulder instability, participated in this study. Several typical clinical evaluation components were assessed as potential independent variables in a regression model using the Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder, and Hand (DASH) score as a proxy to shoulder function. Two multivariate models were built to include (1) evaluation components from physical exam plus clinical history and (2) a model considering all previous variables and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) data. Results: Pain catastrophizing was the best variable in the model explaining at least 10% of the DASH variance. Sex and lower trapezius muscle strength explained considerably less of shoulder function. The MRI data did not improve the model performance. Conclusion: The complexity of shoulder function is not independently explained by pathoanatomical abnormalities. Psychological aspects may explain more of shoulder function even when combined with physical components in some patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100423
JournalBrazilian Journal of Physical Therapy
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was conducted with financial support from the National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq , process number 302789/2017-0 ) and financed in part by the Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior - Brasil (CAPES) - Finance Code 001.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Associação Brasileira de Pesquisa e Pós-Graduação em Fisioterapia


  • Clinical presentation
  • Physical exam
  • Self-reported measures
  • Shoulder imaging
  • Shoulder pain


Dive into the research topics of 'To what extent do typical components of shoulder clinical evaluation explain upper-extremity disability? A cross-sectional study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this