What is the role of manual muscle testing in the physical exam of supraspinatus tendonitis?

Updated: Dec 03, 2018
  • Author: Thomas M DeBerardino, MD; Chief Editor: Sherwin SW Ho, MD  more...
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Manual muscle testing

  • Concentrate on the shoulder girdle muscles (especially external and internal rotation, abduction).

  • The supraspinatus may be isolated by having the patient rotate the upper extremity so that the thumbs are away from the floor and resistance is applied with the arms at 30° of forward flexion and 90° of abduction.

  • Note that pain is felt with tendonitis or partial injury to the supraspinatus tendon with the supraspinatus isolation test, but weakness can also be found accompanying partial- or full-thickness disruption of the supraspinatus tendon. Also, weakness may be found with tendonitis because of muscle inhibition from the pain stimulus.

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