We collected population-based normative data for the DASH (disabilities of the arm, shoulder and hand ) and QuickDASH questionnaires in order to determine the co-morbidity to be expected in a group of patients. We also studied the correlation between the two scores. A total of 2000 DASH forms and 800 QuickDASH forms were mailed to 1400 men and 1400 women. They were selected randomly in groups of 200 men and women in each age decade from 20-29 to over 80 years old. A total of 50% of the DASH forms and 56% of the QuickDASH forms were returned (p < 0.005). The mean DASH scores for women rose with age from 5 among those aged 20-29, to 22 among those aged 70-79 and 36 for those over 80. The corresponding mean values for men were 5, 13 and 22. The mean DASH and QuickDASH scores extracted from the DASH forms were very similar in each age decade. Spearman's correlation coefficient for the two forms was 0.965 for all 992 forms and 0.930 for the 174 forms with scores of 30 or more. There were, however, wide confidence limits for the agreement between scores in individual patients. The high average scores in the general population, particularly among the elderly, should be borne in mind when evaluating scores among patients. The QuickDASH should be preferred to the full DASH as it gives the same information, but is shorter and completed more often.
Keywords: DASH; QuickDASH; disabilities of the arm; normal values; normative; population; shoulder and hand.