Would you like to view this video?

Shoulder Special Test: Drop Arm Test

The Drop Arm Test is a special test used to assess shoulder integrity and muscular strength. This test is performed with the patient standing and the arm fully extended to their side. The patient then has to lower the arm while keeping the elbow fully extended and the thumb pointing up. The test will assess the patient's ability to control the arm as it is lowered to their side under gravity. Abnormal results may include difficulty lowering the arm or pain during the test.

Transcript

00:00:0400:00:06
This is Brent of the Brookbush
00:00:0400:00:06
...blank
00:00:0600:00:07
Institute, and in this video we're going over
00:00:0700:00:09
a special, or orthopedic test for the
00:00:0900:00:12
shoulder. This is known as the Drop Arm
00:00:1200:00:14
Test and is indicative of supraspinatus
00:00:1400:00:16
tear and/or impingement syndrome.
00:00:1600:00:17
I'm going to have my friend, Melissa, come
00:00:1700:00:19
out. She's going to help me demonstrate.
00:00:1900:00:22
Now, our subjective evaluation would have
00:00:2200:00:25
led us to believe that, maybe, Melissa has
00:00:2500:00:27
done something to damage her rotator
00:00:2700:00:29
cuff. So, I'm going to have her go ahead and
00:00:2900:00:30
face me. You're going to stand in front
00:00:3000:00:32
of your patient. You're going to help
00:00:3200:00:37
them to 90 degrees of abduction. Good. Can
00:00:3700:00:39
you hold that right there? Nowm what I
00:00:3900:00:42
want you to do is slowly let both of
00:00:4200:00:46
your arms down to your sides. Okay.
00:00:4600:00:48
We're going to go ahead and turn around
00:00:4800:00:50
and show this to you. You're supposed
00:00:5000:00:52
to be in front of your patient. I'm going to
00:00:5200:00:54
have to turn behind Melissa here. So, I'm
00:00:5400:00:56
going to passively take her into
00:00:5600:01:00
abduction and ask her, "Can you hold this?" Okay,
00:01:0000:01:01
if they can't hold that, that's a good
00:01:0100:01:03
indication that you have a positive Drop
00:01:0300:01:05
Arm Test already. Okay, now slowly lower
00:01:0500:01:08
your arms down. And what you'll notice,
00:01:0800:01:10
guys, in the Drop Arm Test is one arm-
00:01:1000:01:15
they're not able to slowly decelerate
00:01:1500:01:18
adduction. That's an indication that
00:01:1800:01:20
they're supraspinatus can't do its
00:01:2000:01:23
job and/or it's painful. As I mentioned
00:01:2300:01:25
before, this could be an indicator of
00:01:2500:01:29
impingement, although I don't see it used
00:01:2900:01:32
as often for that particular diagnosis.
00:01:3200:01:35
This test does happen to be very
00:01:3500:01:40
specific but not particularly sensitive.
00:01:4000:01:44
My guess is is that when you see this, it
00:01:4400:01:49
is most likely supraspinatus issues, but
00:01:4900:01:51
because your deltoid is such a
00:01:5100:01:54
strong abductor, it's also very possible
00:01:5400:01:57
that you have supraspinatus issues
00:01:5700:02:00
and still pass the Drop Arm Test. That is,
00:02:0000:02:02
you get a negative result on the Drop
00:02:0200:02:06
Arm Test, because your deltoid is able to
00:02:0600:02:08
compensate. So, let me go over this one
00:02:0800:02:11
more time, guys. Passively, you're
00:02:1100:02:14
going to bring them up to 90 degrees. Now
00:02:1400:02:16
what you need to do is be able to see
00:02:1600:02:17
from the front
00:02:1700:02:20
here, whether they can slowly and
00:02:2000:02:24
smoothly allow both arms to equally come
00:02:2400:02:27
back down to adduction. If it's not
00:02:2700:02:30
equal and it doesn't look smooth, that is a
00:02:3000:02:35
positive Drop Arm Test. Now, of course, I'm
00:02:3500:02:38
going to use this in a cluster of exams.
00:02:3800:02:41
I'm not going to rely on this test by
00:02:4100:02:43
itself. I'm going to go ahead and do my
00:02:4300:02:44
impingement exams. I'm going to do
00:02:4400:02:46
other rotator cuff exams. I'm going to
00:02:4600:02:49
use that subjective exam. I'll gather all
00:02:4900:02:52
of that data together to start creating
00:02:5200:02:55
a hypothesis, and then I'm going to use
00:02:5500:02:57
that hypothesis to start
00:02:5700:03:00
selecting interventions. Now, if this is
00:03:0000:03:03
the positive test and is
00:03:0300:03:06
what we are trying to improve, then this is
00:03:0600:03:07
the test I'm going to keep coming back
00:03:0700:03:11
to in my quick tests so that I can tell
00:03:1100:03:13
whether my intervention is being
00:03:1300:03:14
successful, and don't think that all
00:03:1400:03:15
of your interventions are going to be
00:03:1500:03:20
successful. Even if there's no
00:03:2000:03:22
improvement between the first time I did
00:03:2200:03:24
the drop arm test, the interventions I
00:03:2400:03:26
just did, and the second time I did the
00:03:2600:03:29
Drop Arm Test, that's just that many more
00:03:2900:03:31
interventions I'm not going to use and
00:03:3100:03:33
I've narrowed down my focus. I hope you
00:03:3300:03:35
guys enjoyed this video. I hope you add
00:03:3500:03:37
one more assessment to your bag of
00:03:3700:03:39
assessments, because as you guys
00:03:3900:03:40
improve as professionals, I can promise
00:03:4000:03:48
you one thing. It's not the hundreds of
00:03:4800:03:50
interventions and hundreds of techniques that you will learn that are
00:03:5000:03:53
going to make you a marquee practitioner,
00:03:5300:03:57
it is the large amount of assessments
00:03:5700:03:59
and your ability to create an accurate
00:03:5900:04:03
hypothesis that is going to make you
00:04:0300:04:06
rise to the top as a practitioner. Step
00:04:0600:04:07
up your assessment game. I look forward
00:04:0700:04:10
to seeing you guys soon.