Table 1

Summary of study characteristics by condition

ConditionNCountriesAge range¶; mean (SD) unless stated otherwiseExperience¶; mean years (SD) unless stated otherwise
Low: lowest values from studies
High: highest values from studies
Sample size range¶Assessment measure

Low back pain
(one study did not contribute data)
48USA (n=9); UK (n=8);
Netherlands (n=6);
Ireland (n=6);
Canada (n=5);
New Zealand (n=3); Australia; Brazil; Denmark; Ghana; India; Nigeria
Norway; South Africa; Spain; Sweden; Thailand
PTs: 32.6 (7.8) to 47 (9.3)
Pts: 34.5 (17) to 53.9 (14.5).
Low: 2 (IQR 5) or 77.3% between 1 and 5 y
High: 24 (9.4) or 50% between 15 and 24 y
PTs: 44–1239
Pts: 42–8714
Treatment sessions: 1151–12387
Survey with vignettes=12
Survey without vignette=11
Treatment recording forms=15
Audit of clinical notes=7
Survey of Pts=1
Audit of billing codes=1
Clinical observation=1
  • Acute (n=18)

  • Subacute or chronic (n=17)

  • No duration specified or unable to stratify (n=26)

Neck pain and whiplash*11USA (n=3); Australia (n=2); various (n=2); Canada; Nigeria; Singapore; Spain; Sweden**PTs: 32.6 (7.8) or 60%>40 y
Pts: 35.5 (11.5) to 53.9 (14.5)
Low: 8.4 (7.4) or
14.8%<3 y
High: 16 (12) or 38%≥20 y or median (range) 20 y (1–47)
PTs: 27–278
Pts: 532–2491
Survey with vignettes=2
Survey without vignette=5
Treatment recording forms=2
Audit of clinical notes=2
Audit of billing codes=1
NB: one study included both a survey without vignette and audit of clinical notes
  • Neck pain (n=8)

  • Whiplash (n=3)

Subacromial pain or shoulder pain†7Sweden (n=2); Belgium; India; Netherlands; Nigeria; SpainPTs: 29.1 (5.4) to 50.6 (26.2)
Pts: 50 (13) to 53.9 (14.5)
Low: 4.9 (5.1)
High: 14 (11.8)
PTs: 57–271
Pts: 121–365
Survey with vignettes=2
Survey without vignette=2
Treatment recording forms=1
Audit of clinical notes=1
Audit of billing codes=1

Knee osteoarthritis
(one study combined knee and hip osteoarthritis)
7UK (n=2);
Belgium; Canada; Netherlands; Nigeria; Norway
PTs: 45.7 (11.7) to 66.7 (13.2) Low: 8.4 (7.4) or 41.7% between 1 and 5 y
High: 21 (12) or median (range) 26 (1–45)
Departments: 83
PTs: 123–538
Pts: 870
Survey with vignettes=2
Survey without vignette=3
Survey to department=1
Treatment recording forms=1

Knee pain‡3USA (n=2); NetherlandsPTs: 32.6 (7.8) or 60%<35 y
Pts: 36.2 (17.6) or 39% between to 41.2 (14.1) or 12%>60 y
8.4 (7.4)PTs: 141–462
Pts: 416–2491
Treatment recording forms=3

Lateral ankle sprains3Netherlands (n=3)PTs: 43 (no SD) to 51 (9)
Pts: 34.7% between 0 and 24 y to
5.2% ≥ 65 y or
33 (17)
4 (4) to 8 (15)
(within the same study; two separate groups)
PTs: 83–332
Pts: 251–1413
Survey without vignette=1
Treatment recording forms=2

Plantar fascitis2UK; USAPts: 5.2%<20 y to 11.3%≥60 y5% between 0 and 2 y
11% between 3 and 5 y
27%≥20 y
(within the same study)
PTs: 257
Pts: 57 800
Survey without vignette=1
Audit of billing codes=1

Lumbar spine stenosis1CanadaPts: 70 (11) 16.8 (no SD)PTs: 76
Pts: 44
Survey without vignette and survey of Pts=1

Pregnancy-related acute low back pain1UKNo data21.5 (10)PTs: 499Survey with vignettes=1

Pelvic girdle pain1Norway; Australia
(within the same study)
33.5 (9.3) (Norway)
37.9 (11.2) (Australia)
9.3 (9.3) (Norway)
15.4 (11.6) (Australia)
PTs: 142Survey with vignettes=1

Chronic lateral epicondylitis1SwedenNo dataNo dataPTs: 47Survey without vignette=1

Thumb carpometacarpal joint pain1USANo dataHand therapy experience:
4.6%≤5 y;
13.9% between 6 and 10 y;
64.3%≥11 y
PTs: 547Survey without vignette=1

Rheumatoid arthritis2Canada; NetherlandsPTs: 43 (10.8)
Pts: 59.2 (13.8)
Low: 19 (SD 10.3)
High: 22.5 (no SD)
PTs: 26–233Survey without vignette=1
Treatment recording forms=1

Osteoporosis2Canada; USANo data13.7 (10.8)PTs: 67–83Survey without vignette=2

Sports injuries3Greece; Nigeria; UKPts: 29.9 (10.8) to 35 (12.5)No dataPts: 171–1399Treatment recording forms=2
Audit of clinical notes=1

Patella femoral pain syndrome and Achilles tendinopathy1UK35 (12.5)No dataPts: 100Audit of clinical notes=1

Combined musculoskeletal conditions (low back pain, neck pain, shoulder pain, knee pain and acquired deformities of the spine)1NetherlandsPts: 46.1%≥45 yNo dataPts: 8714
PTs: 74
Treatment recording forms=1


Knee arthroplasty§
(one study combined knee and hip arthroplasty)
6UK (n=3); Australia; Greece; NetherlandsPTs: 40.4 (12.6)
Pts: 71.4 (7.7)
Low: 34.1%<5 y
High: 37.9%≥20 y
Departments: 16–65
PTs: 132–303
Pts: 63
Survey without vignette=3
Survey to department=2
Audit of clinical notes=1

Lumbar surgery (fusion or discectomy)2UK (n=2)No dataCondition specific experience:
10 (IQR 3–15)
Departments: 75
PTs: 71
Survey without vignette=1
Survey to department=1

Pelvic surgery1AustraliaNo dataNo dataPTs: 84Survey without vignette=1

Distal radius fracture1AustraliaPTs: median (IQR) 33.5 (23–40)
Pts: 71%>51 y
Median (IQR)
7 (0.8–11)
Pts: 70
Treatment sessions: 160
Treatment recording forms=1
*Two studies also provided data on physical therapy treatment choices for low back pain and knee pain, two for low back pain and shoulder pain and one for low back pain only.

†Two studies also provided data on physical therapy treatment choices for low back pain and neck pain.

‡Two studies also provided data on physical therapy treatment choices for neck pain and low back pain, and one for low back pain only.

§One study also provided data on physical therapy treatment choices for low back pain.

¶Single values indicate that only one study provided data for this field.

**One study looked at data from more than one country.

N, number of studies; Pts, patients; PTs, physical therapists or physiotherapists; y, years.