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Resisted abduction


The subject stands with the arm hanging and slightly abducted. The examiner stands level with the subject’s arm. He places one hand against the opposite hip and the other hand against the outer aspect of the elbow.

Resist the subject’s attempt to abduct the arm.

Common mistakes.

Movement is allowed at the shoulder.

Anatomical structures tested:

Muscle function:
• Important abductors:
– Deltoid
– Supraspinatus
• Less ill/portallt abductors:
– Long head of biceps brachii

Common pathological situations:

• Pain is usually the result of a supraspinatus tendinitis, more rarely of a lesion of the deltoid, but may also occur in subdeltoid bursitis.
• Weakness occurs in total rupture of the supraspinatus tendon or in neurological conditions, such as lesions of the axillary nerve, the suprascapular nerve or the C5 nerve root.
• Painful weakness is indicative of a recent partial rupture of the supraspinatus tendon.

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