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Range of movement

Last reviewed dd mmm yyyy. Last edited dd mmm yyyy

Authoring team

Tests of range of movement of the shoulder joint can be divided into:

  • active motion tests
    • look for a painful arc (70-120° active abduction).
    • test for a significant rotator cuff tear ('drop arm test' ? patient unable to support the weight of the affected arm abducted to 90°)
  • passive motion tests
    • test passive external rotation (less than 50% range of movement compared to the unaffected side suggests a glenohumeral problem)


  • (1) ARC. Management of shoulder disorders in primary care. Hands On 2008; 14:1-8.

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