Shoulder Examination

Updated: Jan 04, 2022
  • Author: Brett J Rothaermel, MD, PT; Chief Editor: Thomas M DeBerardino, MD, FAAOS, FAOA  more...
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A review of the Shoulder Joint Anatomy may be beneficial before considering the principles and concepts of the shoulder examination.

A shoulder examination should be performed in a systematic manner. [1] First, the shoulder is carefully inspected visually, followed by palpation and range-of-motion assessment. Strength testing is then performed. If indicated, functional assessment is performed next and may be followed by a neurological assessment, as necessary. Other special tests may then be performed, followed lastly by painful movements.

Specific details of each phase of the shoulder examination are discussed under Technique.