Intertester reliability of the cyriax evaluation in assessing patients with shoulder pain

J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 1996 Jan;23(1):34-8. doi: 10.2519/jospt.1996.23.1.34.


James Cyriax's approach to diagnosis and treatment of soft tissue disorders is frequently used by orthopaedic and sport physical therapists. The reliability of using Cyriax's system to determine diagnostic categories, however, has not been established. The purpose of this study was to examine the intertherapist reliability of assessments made using Cyriax's shoulder evaluation. Twenty-one cases of painful shoulder were evaluated independently by two experienced physical therapists. Therapists used a checklist to indicate their assessment of each case by selecting a specific shoulder lesion or by indicating that the case did not fit the Cyriax model. Cohen's kappa statistic was used to measure intertherapist agreement. Therapists classified 19 of the 21 cases into the same diagnostic category for a percent agreement of 90.5%. The kappa value was .875, indicating "almost perfect" agreement. Both therapists classified the same four cases of painful shoulder as not fitting the Cyriax model of soft tissue examination. The results of this study show that the Cyriax evaluation can be a highly reliable schema for assessing patients with shoulder pain.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Observer Variation
  • Osteoarthritis / diagnosis*
  • Osteoarthritis / rehabilitation
  • Pain / etiology*
  • Patient Care Team
  • Physical Therapy Modalities / methods*
  • Range of Motion, Articular / physiology
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Shoulder Injuries*
  • Soft Tissue Injuries / diagnosis*
  • Soft Tissue Injuries / rehabilitation
  • Tendinopathy / diagnosis*
  • Tendinopathy / rehabilitation