Shoulder symptoms in healthy athletes: a comparison of outcome scoring systems

J Shoulder Elbow Surg. 1997 May-Jun;6(3):265-71. doi: 10.1016/s1058-2746(97)90015-x.


We used the Rowe, ASES, UCLA, Constant-Murley, and the Simple Shoulder Test scoring systems to determine the presence and severity of shoulder symptoms in "healthy" collegiate athletes at mid-season. Intercollegiate athletes were surveyed with a single, specific, comprehensive questionnaire regarding both of their shoulders at the mid-season of their respective sport. The questionnaire compiled the previously mentioned scoring systems and additional inquiries. Shoulders were divided into three groups for analysis: dominant-never injured, nondominant-never injured, and history of injury. Significant shoulder symptoms exist in athletes during full participation in their respective sport. Pain was the most frequent symptom, with 47% of all shoulder having some degree of pain. The frequency and degree of symptoms was significantly greater in shoulders with a history of injury. The UCLA scoring system is the most sensitive for evaluating "healthy" athletes at mid-season. However, the ideal shoulder scoring system for athletes has yet to be developed. To expect a "normal" or "symptom-free" shoulder after injury or surgery may be inappropriate. This information can serve as a reference for clinicians when evaluating the results of surgery and other treatment programs.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Athletic Injuries / classification*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Joint Diseases / diagnosis
  • Male
  • Shoulder Injuries
  • Shoulder Joint / physiology*
  • Shoulder Joint / physiopathology
  • Sports Medicine / methods
  • Surveys and Questionnaires