Time to end “special” tests for rotator cuff-related pain

What’s so special about “special tests” for rotator-cuff related shoulder pain?

This viewpoint article has three main conclusions:

  • Shoulder “special tests” are not able to discriminate which structure causes rotator cuff-related shoulder pain; 
  • This lack of diagnostic ability means that recommending surgical/ conservative interventions for a specific structure based on the results of “special tests” is not acceptable;
  • Ruling RCRSP in or out can be done through a comprehensive interview (which includes questions about loading patterns, patient beliefs, and lifestyle factors) and physical examination (which includes excluding referred pain, active and passive range of motion, strength, and load responses).

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