Table 1

Diagnostic classification of shoulder disorders

Diagnostic categoriesMain criteria
1 Capsular syndrome (adhaesive capsulitis, arthrosis, frozen shoulder, etc)Capsular pattern: proportionally larger passive restriction of external rotation to glenohumeral abduction and internal rotation. Pain in C5 dermatome
2 Acute bursitisRestriction of active and passive abduction, severe pain in C5 dermatome. Acute onset, no evident trauma
3 Acromioclavicular syndromeRestriction of horizontal adduction. Pain in area of acromioclavicular joint and/or C4 dermatome
4 Subacromial syndrome (chronic bursitis, tendinitis, rotator cuff tears)Painful arc during abduction. Pain in C5 dermatome.
No restriction in passive range of motion. At least one positive resistance test.
Bursitis: variable/slight pain, no or slight muscle weakness
Tendinitis: pain, no or slight muscle weakness.
Cuff tears: little pain, moderate to severe muscle weakness
5 Rest group
 Unclear clinical pictureSigns and symptoms do not meet the criteria of one of the other diagnostic categories
 Extrinsic causesExtrinsic causes such as cervical spine disorders, thoracic outlet syndrome, shoulder-hand syndrome, referred pain
 Other intrinsic causesGlenohumeral instability
 No shoulder problemsNo signs and symptoms indicating intrinsic or extrinsic shoulder disorders1-150
6 Mixed clinical pictureSigns and symptoms do meet the criteria for two diagnostic categories
  • 1-150 Between the inclusion by the general practitioners, physicians or rheumatologists and the physical examination by the examiners recovery of the shoulder problems might have occurred. If the signs and symptoms completely meet the criteria of one diagnostic category and to a lesser extent a second category, the first diagnostic category was chosen.