Validation of grayscale-based quantitative ultrasound in manual wheelchair users: relationship to established clinical measures of shoulder pathology

Am J Phys Med Rehabil. 2010 May;89(5):390-400. doi: 10.1097/PHM.0b013e3181d8a238.


Objective: The primary aim of this study is to establish the validity of grayscale-based quantitative ultrasound (QUS) measures of the biceps and supraspinatus tendons.

Design: Nine QUS measures of the biceps and supraspinatus tendons were computed from ultrasound images collected from 67 manual wheelchair users. Shoulder pathology was measured using questionnaires, physical examination maneuvers, and a clinical ultrasound grading scale.

Results: Increased age, duration of wheelchair use, and body mass correlated with a darker and more homogenous tendon appearance. Subjects with pain during physical examination tests for biceps tenderness and acromioclavicular joint tenderness exhibited significantly different supraspinatus QUS values. Even when controlling for tendon depth, QUS measures of the biceps tendon differed significantly between subjects with healthy tendons, mild tendinosis, and severe tendinosis. Clinical grading of supraspinatus tendon health was correlated with QUS measures of the supraspinatus tendon.

Conclusions: QUS is valid method to quantify tendinopathy and may allow for early detection of tendinosis. Manual wheelchair users are at a high risk for developing shoulder tendon pathology and may benefit from QUS-based research that focuses on identifying interventions designed to reduce this risk.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Humans
  • Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle, Skeletal / diagnostic imaging
  • Shoulder Pain / diagnostic imaging*
  • Tendinopathy / diagnostic imaging*
  • Tendons / diagnostic imaging*
  • Ultrasonography
  • Wheelchairs*