A thorough physical examination of the shoulder and cervical spine is critical in establishing a focused differential diagnosis of the pathology in and around the shoulder joint. Numerous tests have been described in the literature to help improve the diagnostic accuracy of specific shoulder or cervical spine pathology. A comprehensive approach for the physical examination of the cervical spine, scapula, and rotator cuff is presented and descriptions on how the tests are performed and the evidence behind why specific tests are used in enabling improved diagnosis of shoulder pathology are discussed.
From the Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton, Camp Pendleton, CA (Dr. Hippensteel), and the Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO (Dr. Brophy, Dr. Smith, and Dr. Wright).
Dr. Brophy or an immediate family member serves as a board member, owner, officer, or committee member of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, the American Orthopaedic Association, and the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine. Dr. Smith or an immediate family member is a member of a speakers' bureau or has made paid presentations on behalf of Arthrex and serves as a paid consultant to Flexion Therapeutics. Dr. Wright or an immediate family member has received research or institutional support from the National Institutes of Health (NIAMS and NICHD) and serves as a board member, owner, officer, or committee member of the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery and the American Orthopaedic Association. Neither Dr. Hippensteel nor any immediate family member has received anything of value from or has stock or stock options held in a commercial company or institution related directly or indirectly to the subject of this article.