Special Tests for Shoulder Injuries Glenohumeral Instability Tests Load & Shift Test

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Special Tests for Shoulder Injuries
Glenohumeral Instability Tests
Load & Shift Test

  • Have the person sit with their arm resting on their thigh

  • Stand behind them with one hand stabilizing their shoulder

  • With the other hand, grasp the head of the humerus with your thumb on the posterior side and fingers over the anterior side

  • Press the humerus into the glenoid fossa and then apply an anterior or posterior force and notice the translation

  • Movement of up to 25% of the size head of the humerus is considered normal

    • 25-50% is considered a grade I dislocation

    • Over 50% translation with the humerus returning to its normal position is considered a grade II

    • Grade III is when the humerus doesn’t return to normal

Clunk Test

This is a test for a glenoid labrum tear

  • Have the person lay on their back

  • Place one hand on the posterior side of their shoulder over the head of the humerus

  • Hold their humerus with your other hand just above the elbow

  • Fully abduct their arm over their head

  • Push anteriorly with the hand under the shoulder while the other hand externally rotates the humerus

  • Circumduct their arm

  • A positive test is indicated by a ‘clunk’ or grinding sensation

Apprehension Tests


  • Have the athlete sit on a table and stand next to their injured shoulder

  • Abduct their arm to 90° and slowly externally rotate it (if you go too fast, you can actually re-dislocate their shoulder)

  • A positive sign will be the look of apprehension (grimace) on their face before you reach the endpoint and it signifies an anterior instability of the GH joint

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