Clinical exam of the shoulder

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This paper outlines the important features of the clinical assessment of the shoulder in a systematic and thorough manner. We highlight the key symptoms, particularly pain and instability, and describe how they may be associated with the various different pathologies. The physical examination is detailed in order of inspection, palpation, and motion, and then considerable emphasis is given to specific shoulder tests looking for evidence of rotator cuff weakness, impingement, biceps pathology, and instability. A number of specific tests of instability are outlined including an examination technique for posterior instability that has not previously been described.

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