Objective(s): (1) To compare the effectiveness of customized exercises with that of standard exercises for the treatment of patients with shoulder disorders. (2) To determine whether four weeks or eight weeks would be needed to see improvement in outcome measures.
Design: A single-blinded randomized clinical trial.
Setting: An outpatient physical therapy clinic affiliated with an academic institution.
Subjects: Thirty patients with shoulder disorders were tested and treated between February 2003 and December 2004.
Interventions: Patients were randomized to a customized or standard exercise group. Each patient first underwent a standardized physical therapy assessment. Based on the results of the assessment, a classification was determined and a classification-specific exercise programme was instructed to the patients in the customized exercise group. The standard exercise group, regardless of classification, received preselected standard exercises. Both groups were followed for eight weeks.
Main measures: Shoulder range of motion, strength, pain intensity and function were assessed three times (weeks 0, 4 and 8).
Results: There were no significant differences between the customized and standard exercise groups in measures of shoulder range of motion, strength, pain intensity and function after four or eight weeks of exercise. Patients in both groups had significant improvements in shoulder strength, pain intensity and function. Significant improvements occurred at week 8, but not at week 4.
Conclusion: The customized shoulder exercises did not provide additional benefit to our shoulder patients than the standard exercises.