This viewpoint sends a clear message – shoulder “special tests” do not offer any benefit and may misguide the clinical decision-making process for patients with rotator cuff-related shoulder pain, delaying adequate care.
This also brings the question: why are there so many and why are they so widely used? As mentioned by the authors, multiple factors may be at play. First, the notion that a specific culprit for the symptoms can be quickly identified in the clinical setting is comforting. Second, there’s the “we’ve always done it this way” factor. Many practitioners are resistant to change when they have had the same practice patterns for so long. On the other hand, these tests are still routinely taught at the undergraduate level, which means younger physiotherapists may lack other tools for managing these cases.
This means that despite their lack of usefulness, this change may take time to break through these walls and reach widespread clinical practice. It is up to each one of us to make sure this change is as quick as possible.