Physical Therapy Interventions for the Management of Biceps Tendinopathy: An International Delphi Study.
Background: Shoulder pain related to the long head of the biceps tendon (LHBT) tendinopathy can be debilitating and difficult to treat especially in athletes who often elect for surgical intervention. Conservative management is recommended but there are limited established guidelines on the physical therapy (PT) management of the condition.
Hypothesis/Purpose: The purpose of this study was to establish consensus on conservative, non-surgical physical therapy interventions for individuals with LHBT tendinopathy using the Delphi method approach.
Study Design: Delphi Study
Methods: Through an iterative process, experts in the PT field rated their agreement with a list of proposed treatment interventions and suggested additional interventions during each round. Agreement was measured using a four-point Likert scale. Descriptive statistics including median and percentage agreement were used to measure agreement. Data analysis at the end of Round III produced, by consensus, a list of PT interventions recommended for the management of individuals with LHBT tendinopathy. Consensus was defined as an a priori cutoff of ≥75% agreement.
Results: The respondent group included 29 international experts in the PT management of individuals with shoulder pain. At the conclusion of the study 61 interventions were designated as recommended based on consensus amongst experts and 9 interventions were not recommended based on the same criteria, 15 interventions did not achieve consensus.
Conclusion: There is a lack of well-defined, PT interventions used to treat LHBT tendinopathy. Expert respondents reached consensus on multimodal interventions including exercise, manual therapy and patient education to manage LHBT tendinopathy.
Level of Evidence: 5