Background: The purpose of this study was to reach consensus on the most appropriate terminology and issues related to clinical reasoning, examination, and treatment of the kinetic chain (KC) in people with shoulder pain among an international panel of experts.
Methods: A 3-round Delphi study that involved an international panel of experts with extensive clinical, teaching, and research experience in the study topic was conducted. A search equation of terms related to the KC in Web of Science and a manual search were used to find the experts. Participants were asked to rate items across 5 different domains (terminology, clinical reasoning, subjective examination, physical examination, and treatment) using a 5-point Likert-type scale. An Aiken coefficient of validity (V) ≥0.7 was considered indicative of group consensus.
Results: The participation rate was 30.2% (n = 16), whereas the retention rate was high throughout the 3 rounds (100%, 93.8%, and 100%). A total of 15 experts from different fields and countries completed the study. After the 3 rounds, consensus was reached on 102 items: 3 items were included in the "terminology" domain; 17 items, in the "rationale and clinical reasoning" domain; 11 items, in the "subjective examination" domain; 44 items, in the "physical examination" domain; and 27 items, in the "treatment" domain. Terminology was the domain with the highest level of agreement, with 2 items achieving an Aiken V of 0.93, whereas the domains of physical examination and treatment of the KC were the 2 areas with less consensus. Together with the terminology items, 1 item from the treatment domain and 2 items from the rationale and clinical reasoning domain reached the highest level of agreement (V = 0.93 and V = 0.92, respectively).
Conclusion: This study defined a list of 102 items across 5 different domains (terminology, rationale and clinical reasoning, subjective examination, physical examination, and treatment) regarding the KC in people with shoulder pain. The term "KC" was preferred and a agreement on a definition of this concept was reached. Dysfunction of a segment in the chain (ie, weak link) was agreed to result in altered performance or injury to distal segments. Experts considered it important to assess and treat the KC in particular in throwing or overhead athletes and agreed that no one-size-fits-all approach exists when implementing shoulder KC exercises within the rehabilitation process. Further research is now required to determine the validity of the identified items.
Keywords: Delphi study; Kinetic chain; clinical reasoning; examination; shoulder pain; terminology.
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