Physical Examination Tests for the Shoulder and the Elbow

  • G. Porcellini
  • F. Caranzano
  • F. Campi
  • P. Paladini


A successful outcome in shoulder or elbow surgery is related to the accuracy of diagnosis, which in turn requires a well reproducible model of clinical examination, including thorough inspection of the injured area, the completion of all the steps in the examination, the choice of the most accurate tests, and sound judgment based on experience. In the detection of shoulder and elbow pathologies, the history is very important and accurate data collection is mandatory. This information together forms the basis for carrying out specific tests. The first part of this chapter focuses on clinical examination of the shoulder. Anterior and posterior instability must be well distinguished from joint laxity, as the latter is often a physiological condition while the former is a pathological condition that must be treated. This is followed by an analysis of the long head of the biceps and a discussion of SLAP tests, tendon integrity tests to examine the superior, posterior, and anterior components of the rotator cuff in impingement cases, and acromio-clavicular joint tests. In the second part of the chapter, clinical examination of the elbow is reviewed, emphasizing accurate inspection and the palpation of anatomic landmarks. Finally, the proper use of range of movement and muscular strength tests, stability tests, and specifics tests for medial and lateral epicondylitis and for the distal biceps is described.


Rotator Cuff External Rotation Humeral Head Radial Head Medial Collateral Ligament 
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© Springer-Verlag Italia 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • G. Porcellini
  • F. Caranzano
  • F. Campi
  • P. Paladini

There are no affiliations available

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