Hornblower's Sign

Original Editor - Beth Reuschel

Top Contributors - Beth Reuschel, Kim Jackson, Tony Lowe, Dan Rhon and Evan Thomas


To test for teres minor tear.


The patient is seated or standing. The examiner places the patient's arm to 90oin the scapular plane and flexes the elbow to 90o. The patient is then asked to externally rotate against resistance. The test is positive if the patient is unable to perform external rotation.


Evidence [3][4]

Sensitivity 1.0
Specificity .93
+LR 14.29
-LR 0.0


  1. Magee DJ, 2002, Orthopedic Physical Assessment, 4th edition, Philadelphia: Saunders
  2. Clinically Relevant Technologies, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KcNBtbVaatY; Accessed May 2011
  3. Walch G, Boulahia A, Calderone S, Robinson AHN. The 'dropping' and 'hornblower's' signs in evaluation of rotator cuff tears. 1998; 80: 624-28.
  4. Cleland J, 2005, Orthopedic Clinical Examination: An Evidence-Based Approach for Physical Therapists, 1st edition, New Jersey: Icon Learning Systems LLC.