Measuring shoulder injury function: Common scales and checklists

The increasing shift towards patient-centred healthcare has lead to an emergence of patient-reported outcome instruments to quantify functional outcomes in orthopaedic patients. Unfortunately, selecting an instrument for use in a shoulder trauma population is often problematic because most shoulder instruments were initially designed for use with chronic shoulder pathology patients. To ensure an instrument is valid, reliable, and sensitive to clinical changes, it is important to obtain psychometric evidence of its use in the target population. Four commonly used shoulder outcome instruments are reviewed in this paper: American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons Standardized Shoulder Assessment Form (ASES); Constant–Murley shoulder score (CMS); Disabilities of Arm, Shoulder, and Hand (DASH); Oxford Shoulder Score (OSS). Each instrument was reviewed for floor or ceiling effects, validity, reliability, responsiveness, and interpretability. Additionally, evidence of each instrument's psychometric properties was sought in shoulder fracture populations. Based on the current literature, each instrument has limited amounts of evidence to support their use in shoulder trauma populations. Overall, psychometric evaluations in isolated shoulder fracture populations remain scarce, and clinicians must remember that an instrument's properties are defined for the population tested and not the instrument. Therefore, caution must always be exercised when using an instrument that has not been fully evaluated in trauma populations.


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