Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Shoulder FAQ


My doctor wants me to have a special shoulder test. It's called a simple shoulder test. Can you tell me how it's done?


You may be referring to the Simple Shoulder Test or SST developed at the University of Washington. It's a series of Yes/No questions asked each patient.

One group of questions is about pain. A second group of questions asks about mobility. Strength and function are also evaluated. A normal shoulder would have a 'yes' answer to all 12 questions.

Here's a sample of the questions:

  • Is your shoulder comfortable with your arm at rest by your side?
  • Can you lift a 1 lb (a full pint container) to the level of your shoulder without bending the elbow?
  • Do you think you can throw a softball overhand 20 yards with the affected arm?
  • Would your shoulder allow you to work full-time at your regular job?

    The goal of the SST is to compare pain, range of motion, strength, and function before and after treatment. One advantage of this questionnaire is that it can be done by mail or over the phone. The patient doesn't have to make an extra trip to the clinic or hospital. It should only take about five or 10 minutes of your time.

    Eduard Buess, M.D., et al. Open Versus Arthroscopic Rotator Cuff Repair: A Comparative View of 96 Cases. In Arthroscopy. May 2005. Vol. 21. No. 5. Pp. 597-604.

    *Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
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