Drop Arm Test
Original Editor - Beth Reuschel
Sitting or standing
Stand behind the seated patient and abduct patient's arm to 900, supporting the arm at the elbow. Release the elbow support, and ask patient to slowly lower the arm to the side.
- The test is negative if the patient is able to control the lowering of the arm slowly and without pain.
- It is positive if there is pain while lowering the arm, sudden dropping of the arm or weakness in maintaining arm position during lowering (with or without pain), suggesting injury to the supraspinatus.
- Sensitivity: 7.8;
- Specificity: 97.2;
- Likelihood Ratio: +LR: 2.79; -LR: .95 
EvidenceA study of 53 patients suspected to have suffered rotator cuff tears compared physical examination tests to their shoulder MRI and ultrasonography results. The study found that the drop arm test had a 100% PPV and 10% sensitivity.
- Klaus Buckup. Clinical Tests for the Musculoskeletal System: Examinations - Signs - Phenomena. 2nd ed. Germany: Thieme, 2008
- Physiotutors. Drop Arm Test / Sign | Supraspinatus Tear. Available from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JXgRBeqToik
- M. Lynn Palmer, Marcia E. Epler, Marcia F. Epler. Fundamentals of Musculoskeletal Assessment Techniques. 2nd ed. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 1998
- Calis M, et al. (2000). Diagnostic values of clinical diagnostic tests in subacromial impingement syndrome. Ann Rheum Dis. 59.1. 44-47. Web 10 Dec 2012.
- Gerard A. Malanga, Scott Nadler. Musculoskeletal Physical Examination: An Evidence-based Approach. Philadelphia: Elsevier Health Sciences, 2006.