Table 2

Percentage (median and IQR) of physical therapy treatment choices that involved treatments that were recommended, not recommended or had no recommendation

Assessed by surveys of physical therapists¶Assessed by clinical notes
Musculoskeletal conditions* Median (%†) Q1 Q3 N Median (%‡) Q1 Q3 N
Recommended542576236346688
Not recommended4334613727134520
No recommendation8149963745318531
Low back pain Median (%†) Q1 Q3 N Median (%‡) Q1 Q3 N
Recommended35165695032625
Not recommended4434642418103615
No recommendation7245882443318123
Neck pain and whiplash Median (%†) Q1 Q3 N Median (%‡) Q1 Q3 N
Recommended8582946
Not recommended38356757966894
No recommendation97729865726844
Shoulder pain Median (%†) Q1 Q3 N Median (%‡) Q1 Q3 N
Recommended§93909447668793
Not recommended90181
No recommendation79698846257773
Knee osteoarthritis/pain Median (%†) Q1 Q3 N Median (%‡) Q1 Q3 N
Recommended58496556565662
Not recommended4535556211
No recommendation988810055342642
Lateral ankle sprains Median (%†) Q1 Q3 N Median (%‡) Q1 Q3 N
Recommended3931462
Not recommended141
No recommendation71451
Plantar fasciitis Median (%†) Q1 Q3 N Median (%‡) Q1 Q3 N
Recommended291871
Not recommended431
No recommendation981901
Knee arthroplasty** Median (%†) Q1 Q3 N Median (%‡) Q1 Q3 N
Recommended9383955651
Not recommended5242674431
No recommendation622395421
  • *Summary values excluded shoulder pain and knee arthroplasty as they did not have guidelines that recommended ‘core’ physical therapy treatments.

  • †The percentage of physical therapists that report they provide (or would provide) treatments that were recommended, not recommended and had no recommendation.

  • ‡The percentage of patients that received treatments from a physical therapist that were recommended, not recommended or had no recommendation for a given condition as determined by audits of clinical notes, audits of billing codes, treatment recording forms, clinical observation or surveys completed by patients.

  • §Recommended care was based on delivering treatment that was ‘likely to be beneficial’ according to Kulkarni et al.115

  • ¶Summary values for knee arthroplasty include studies that assessed treatment choices by surveys to physical therapy departments.

  • **Includes one study that combined treatment practices for knee and hip arthroplasty.

  • N, number of studies; Q1, first quartile; Q3, third quartile.