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Resisted extension of the elbow


The subject stands with the arm alongside the body and the elbow bent to a right angle with the forearm in supination. The examiner stands level with the subject’s forearm.One hand is on top of the shoulder, the other on the distal aspect of the forearm.


Resist the subject’s attempt to extend the elbow.

Common mistakes:

• Extension is allowed at the shoulder.
• Movement is allowed at the elbow.

Anatomical structures tested:

Muscle function:
• Most importn1Jt extellsor:
– Triceps brachii
• Less important extensor:
– Anconeus.

Common pathological situations:

• Pain elicited in the shoulder region is the result of the humerus being pulled upwards against the acromial arch and pinching an inflamed subacromial structure. This happens in subdeltoid bursitis or in tendinitis of one of the tendons of the rotator cuff.
• Pain on extension more rarely indicates triceps tendinitis.
• Weakness is usually the result of a C7 nerve
root palsy.

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