Objective: The curricula of all health professionals have an important foundation of human anatomy. A comparison of the anatomy retention between students from different curricula has not been studied. Our aim was to examine the knowledge competency of third-year physical therapy and medical students in carpal bone anatomy.
Methods: The testing was conducted on the third-year medical and physical therapy students at Universidad de Granada. Students were given 5 minutes to answer the carpal bone test, a test which requires the identification of the carpal bones in an illustration of the bony skeleton of carpal region. Differences in the distribution of the responses between groups were analyzed using the χ2 test.
Results: One hundred thirty-four (n = 134) tests were analyzed (n = 54 [41%] physical therapy students, n = 80 [59%] medical students). Only 39 students correctly identified all of the carpal bones (42.6% physical therapy, 20% medical, P < .001). Physical therapy students correctly identified a greater number (P < .001) of carpal bones (mean ± SD, 5.8 ± 2.2) than medical students (mean ± SD, 3.1 ± 2.9). The capitate was the most frequently identified bone in both physical therapy (96%) and medical (46%) students (P < .001). The hamate bone was the least frequently identified bone by medical students (n = 29, or 36.3%), whereas the trapezoid bone was the least frequently identified bone by physical therapy students (n = 35, or 64.8%).
Conclusion: There are few studies investigating anatomical knowledge levels between disciplines. This study found that physical therapy students exhibited better retention of anatomy of the carpal bones than medical students.
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