The physical exam is especially important to orthopedic specialists.
There are, however, many eponyms and unique maneuvers that can make learning a good orthopedic exam challenging.
The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) has attempted to clarify the intricacies of common physical exam maneuvers with a series of mobile apps. This review focuses on the AAOS physical exam of the shoulder.
The application is produced by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. The AAOS is one of the largest medical specialty societies in the United States. The AAOS has a long tradition of producing educational content. They were also one of the first specialty societies to use mobile technology as a means for member education.
The app opens with a disclaimer, credits, and then a list of exam sections on the main menu. The sections include: inspection palpation, muscle testing, range of motion, and special tests.
Clicking on any section takes the user to a list of maneuvers.
Selecting a maneuver reveals a short description of the exam maneuver with associated references. The content in these descriptions is referenced well with many up-to-date articles on the topic. Additionally, each maneuver has the listed specificity and sensitivity in the description section which helps users understand the clinical utility of that exam.
In the upper right corner is a tab that connects to the exam video. Every exam topic has an associated video of the physical exam maneuver. The quality of the video and audio is good but short and without demonstrations of pathology.
Similarly, there are no pictures or diagrams to enhance the explanations of the exam maneuvers. The app covers most of the common exam tests and is ideal for the beginner or intermediate healthcare professional learning to perform the shoulder exam. There could also be some utility for review or consolidating the information in a single app for the more experienced clinician but most of the content is easily accessible online.
- Short, to the point, explanations of exam maneuvers with references.
- Good quality videos demonstrating exam techniques.
- No images or diagrams of the exam maneuvers.
- Incomplete overview of exam maneuvers.
- No search function.
Healthcare workers that would benefit from the app
- Any healthcare worker who has a role in performing orthopedic exam maneuvers.
- This application is easy to use, delivers well on its intended purpose, and covers several common exam maneuvers in orthopedics. The app design is simple and straightforward.
- However, the amount of content is limited and could be enhanced with images and diagrams of techniques. Having the information consolidated into one location with this app will be beneficial to some practitioners.
Type of device used to review app–iPhone 5
Version of App–1.0
Rating: (1 to 5 stars): 3.5/5
- User Interface: 3/5 – The information is presented in a list format interface that is easy to navigate. With a few clicks, the user can navigate to topics of interest and view the associated video example.
- Multimedia usage: 4/5 – The videos are good quality but could be enhanced with pathology videos or positive findings. Similarly, images and diagrams would improve teaching the exam maneuvers.
- Price: 4/5 – The application is expensive for the amount of content. This is important considering many of the maneuvers have videos online for free. The difference with this app is that the material is of a very high quality and from one of the most trusted sources in orthopedic education.
- Real world applicability: 3/5 – This is a good application for quick review of common shoulder maneuvers.
This post does not establish, nor is it intended to establish, a patient physician relationship with anyone. It does not substitute for professional advice, and does not substitute for an in-person evaluation with your health care provider. It does not provide the definitive statement on the subject addressed. Before using these apps please consult with your own physician or health care provider as to the app’s validity and accuracy as this post is not intended to affirm the validity or accuracy of the apps in question. The app(s) mentioned in this post should not be used without discussing the app first with your health care provider.