This interesting article published in Military Medicine, a smallish peer-reviewed journal asked just that question. The investigators administered a standardized examination that assesses knowledge in managing musculoskeletal conditions to uniformed Physical Therapists. They then compared the results to other healthcare providers. The results:

  1. Orthopedic Surgeons
  2. Physical Therapists
  3. Everyone else.

Everyone else consisted of: medical students, physician interns and residents, active duty military physicians, and all physician specialists except for orthopedists.

As as side note, Physical Therapists who were not trained in the Army system or had not attended their specialized training did not as well as those therapists who had.

The lack of musculoskeletal education for generalized physicians is well documented. This study tells us a couple things: Not all healthcare providers are the same. The Army is very proud of its program.

As a first hand observer of this issue: I concur.