Simple Shoulder Test (SST)

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The Simple Shoulder Test (SST) was originally published in 1993 in the conference proceedings of the American Association of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS) Symposium Series The shoulder; A balance of mobility and stability.

The SST measures shoulder function from a patient’s perspective. It is 12 questions long with all questions require simple ‘yes’/’no’ responses. The simplicity of the simple shoulder test is often cited as one of its strengths.

The Simple Shoulder Test is standardized, simple, short, practical and free to all who would like to use it. 

Use the following EVALUATION FORM to evaluate your patient and PRINT THE FORM when the evaluation is completed.


The Simple Shoulder Test provides a practical method for determining the pretreatment shoulder function as well as the shoulder function at various intervals after the treatment. Sequential SST’s indicate the length of time required to achieve maximum functional benefit after treatment. The difference between the shoulder function before treatment and after the recovery period is the effectiveness of the treatment.


The simplicity of the SST is one of its greatest strengths, consisting of a simple yes/no format. A second strength it possesses is its nearly perfect reproducibility. In normal subjects, the reproducibility is nearly 100%, and abnormal cases that were retested 5-14 days later had a 96% rate of those tests with no more than one question answered differently from the first time. Due to having general, simple questions, the tests showed that they applied across all patient populations. What also follows from a simple, reproducible test, is that outcomes can be easily and clearly communicated to patients.


Original Literature:

Lippitt, S. B. “A practical tool for evaluating shoulder function. The Simple Shoulder Test.” The shoulder; A balance of mobility and stability (1993): 501-518.

Validation Literature:

Godfrey, Jenna, et al. “Reliability, validity, and responsiveness of the simple shoulder test: psychometric properties by age and injury type.” Journal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery 16.3 (2007): 260-267.

Additional Literature:

Beaton, Dorcas, and Robin R. Richards. “Assessing the reliability and responsiveness of 5 shoulder questionnaires.” Journal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery 7.6 (1998): 565-572.

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