Shoulder examination

A shoulder examination (or shoulder exam) is a portion of a physical examination used to identify potential pathology involving the shoulder. It should be conducted with both shoulders exposed to assess for asymmetry and muscle wasting.

Elements of the shoulder exam

Provocative maneuvers specific to the shoulder examination

Tests for rotator cuff pathology

Tests for bicipital tenosynovitis and labral pathology

Tests for shoulder instability

Other tests

A meta-analysis in 2008 concluded that the diagnostic accuracy of individual tests in the shoulder examination was limited, specifically that the Hawkins–Kennedy test and the Speed test have no discriminatory ability to diagnose specific shoulder pathology, and that results of studies evaluating other tests were too statistically heterogeneous to make meaningful conclusions about their diagnostic accuracy.

Examination of the shoulder can be complex because the shoulder can present with more than one pathology at a time.


This page was last updated at 2024-04-18 07:36 UTC. Update now. View original page.

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