5 Special Tests for Shoulder Examination in Record Time

By Amanda Gail Mamalio, PTRP

Confirm SAIS (Subacromial Impingement Syndrome) while you Professionally Hustle and Bustle


Imagine, just 5 shoulder movements and then you’re done.

There’s a plethora of shoulder special tests out there. Browse your book on orthopedic special tests. One chapter about the shoulder is basically telling you “This works. This one also works. You can also do this! Or this! Or this! Or this! Or this! Or-”


Until your head explodes.


As you pick the charred remains of your brain, have you ever stopped to question their effectiveness in ruling out or confirming shoulder diagnosis?

But it’s in the book, it’s therefore effective, your (insert ego-boosting adjective here) mind argues.

Point taken. But in a systematic review on shoulder special tests, researchers have found that “no tests for impingement or acromioclavicular (AC) joint pathology demonstrated significant diagnostic accuracy.”

In short, none of them measured up. It’s either its sensitivity or specificity measurement that is low. No tests shows high specificity and sensitivity..

But it only means one shoulder test is not enough to confirm a shoulder diagnosis.

So a solution came in a form of an evidence-based research, where they have found that the combination of 5 shoulder special tests, produce a high sensitivity and specificity for diagnosing SAIS.

“You’re Done? But I Didn’t See You do Anything”

Oh yeah, because you’re that good.

Will be good.

In a seminar conducted by Rehabtrends, Dr. Consuelo G. Suarez, MD, PhD, MSPT introduced a clinical literature titled “Reliability and diagnostic accuracy of 5 physical examination tests and combination of tests for subacromial impingement.”

In a nutshell, the combination of the five special tests below is the most reliable and accurate for Subacromial Impingement.

  • Hawkins-Kennedy
  • Neer
  • Painful Arc
  • Emptycan (Jobe)
  • External Rotation Resistance

Three or more positive results from the 5 tests confirm SAIS diagnosis.

Less than 3 positive results rules out SAIS.

That’s it.

Contrary to popular belief, you don't need to dislocate your shoulders to get out of a straightjacket. link

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to dislocate your shoulders to get out of a straightjacket. link

Shouldering On

Are you done rolling your eyes at my pun?

So now you know the 5 shoulder special tests that when combined shows a high specificity and sensitivity in diagnosing SAIS.

Now it’s time to be awesomely bad-ass in the clinical environment.

What’s your favorite special test that you do to your patient, by the way?



Want something as awesome as this in your website? Let me help you.


© PT Got Spunk 2014


One thought on “5 Special Tests for Shoulder Examination in Record Time

  1. Pingback: What Grinds Your Gears as a Physical Therapist? | PT Got Spunk

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