random review (i.e. thing i looked up again recently): drop arm test for rotator cuff injury

29 Nov


  • tests for rotator cuff tear; especially supraspinatus


  • have patient abduct arm to 90 degrees
  • ask them to lower arm to side slowly
  • examiner applies gentle pressure to top of arm
  • patient will no longer be able to gradually lower his arm and it will fall (if there’s a decent tear/injury)
  • negative test is a slow, gradual controlled lowering motion of the arm


–its in chinese, but i think that helps you focus on the visual. and the one word most of us will recognize (supraspinatus)




I’m a fan of this test, which patients can usually figure out easily, and sort of tests the same thing (supraspinatus)


References: AAFP Shoulder Exam; http://www.wheelessonline.com/ortho/shoulder_physical_exam; Tintinalli’s Emergency Medicine: A Comprehensive Study Guide. 7th Edition; Rosen’s Emergency Medicine. (2010); picture


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