About the Keele STarT MSK Tool

The Keele STarT MSK Tool©2017 is a tool designed to assist clinicians in their clinical decision making, by giving information on the likely risk of a poor outcome at the point the patient consults.

The tool is designed for use in the most common musculoskeletal conditions (e.g. back pain, neck pain, shoulder pain, knee pain and multisite pain). It places patients into three risk categories (high, medium and low). The tool can help the clinician decide which is the most appropriate treatment based on the patients' risk category, this is known as a 'stratified care approach'.

The tool is quick and easy to use and has been designed for use by a wide range of healthcare professionals: general practitioners (GPs), physical therapists, osteopaths, chiropractors and pain management specialists.

The Keele STarT MSK Tool has 10 items that ask about predictors of poor outcomes for a range of conditions. The items ask about the function and disability, pain and coping, comorbidity and the impact of pain.

The research team has successfully completed a randomised clinical trial (RCT) to test whether matching treatments to the different risk categories is better than usual care. Results from this trial are available here. There are two versions of the Keele STarT MSK tool that you can download once you have obtained the licence. One is a self-reported version and the other clinician interview version.

For guidance on the use of the tool and copyright arrangements please visit the 'legal' section of the website.