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Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

Active Range of Motion: Shoulder

Active Range of Motion: Shoulder


This is going to be a video on active range of motion assessment of the shoulder complex. Hi and welcome back to PhysioTutors. The shoulder girdle is a very complex structure, comprised of many joints and muscles that act together to allow full movement. During active range of motion assessment, you’re going to evaluate the following movements: First, there is elevation through abduction. Ask your patient to place the arms in the anatomic position, meaning the palms face forward with the thumbs pointing towards the side. Then ask your patient to slowly abduct the arms as far as possible. Ask your patient to perform the same movement, but now you’re looking at him from the back. To evaluate the movement, make use of the scapulohumeral rhythm. You’re going to examine the movements of the humerus, scapula and clavicle. The second movement is elevation through forward flexion. Ask your patient to stand upright and the thumbs point forward and then your patient is going to slowly forward flex both arms. For extension, ask your patient to stand upright and then instruct him to bring the arms as far back as possible. Make sure that the movement is in the shoulder and that the patient does not compensate from the spine by leaning forward or by scapular retraction. For lateral or external rotation, ask your patient to flex the elbow to 90° and have the upper arm rest against the thorax. The patient is then asked to bring the wrist outward as far as possible without abducting the arm. This movement should be performed carefully in patients who suffered shoulder dislocations. For medial or internal rotation, there are two ways to assess this movement. First, there is the hitchhiking-thumb. Ask your patient to extend the thumb and reach as far up the back as possible with it. The spinous processes T5 and T10 represent normal internal rotation degrees. The second way to assess medial or internal rotation is to ask your patient to abduct the arms to 90° and then perform internal rotation. Next up is adduction. Instruct your patient to bring the arms as far as possible in front of the body. Next up is horizontal adduction or crossed flexion. Ask your patient to abduct the arms to 90° and then bring the arms as far as possible in front of the body. For scapular protraction, ask your patient to bring the shoulders as far as possible together anteriorly. For scapular retraction, ask your patient to squeeze the shoulder blades together and thus perform retraction. For shoulder elevation, instruct your patient to shrug the shoulders. For shoulder depression, instruct your patient to bring the shoulders towards the floor as far as possible. Alright guys, this was our video on active range of motion assessment of the shoulder complex, if you enjoyed this video, be sure to leave it a thumbs up, subscribe to our channel if you haven’t yet and if you want you can check out the passive range of motion assessment of the shoulder complex by watching this video right here, or check out our video on resisted isometric testing right there. This was Andreas from PhysioTutors, I’ll see you next time. Bye.

33 thoughts on “Active Range of Motion: Shoulder

  1. Great videos. For the shoulder extension test, it appears that the subject only achieves about 45 degrees. Is this normal rom? Also for the external rotation test, it appears that the subject again only achieves about 45 degrees. Is this normal rom?

  2. I have a restricted range of motion of my jaw I think its kind of lock jaw pkease help ne to fix it it is really troublesome for me when I wants to close my mouth tightly

  3. Well I did all of the exercises I was fine with many movements but my issue is I can't throw anything with my shoulder what should I do I feel so much pain while doing that

  4. Hi, could there be a difference, for example pain, if the internal and external rotation is done with shoulder abduction or not? Thanks

  5. I broke my shoulder and will have my first appointment with a rehab doc in a few days after a month of regular check-ups with my ortho. Your video helps me prepare for the visit. It lessens my anxiety. Thank you.

  6. I appreciate your videos but could you make videos on every aspects of therapeutic exercises and manual therapy?

  7. Hello, I was watching the video and I'm curious if he has had a Right AC joint injury? it looks like he has a type one shoulder separation.

  8. Hello, I can't keep my forearms parallel to the floor when my biceps are flexed, such as in a reverse curl, or say when I'm working on a mouse. They force themselves to rotate inwards. I have tried the tests here and my range seems fine, I'm not sure what's the issue

  9. I have pain along the medial border of the right scapula that is exacerbated with sitting down and lying on my back. I've difficulty with placing the right hand on my back (hitchhiking thumb test) which causes impingement symptoms but no problem with the other internal rotation test. Also scapula dyskinesia (tipping) and right hand colder than left hand. Any idea what is going on and what muscles/tendons are at the core of this particular problem?

  10. Hey I'm a Wrestler and My Left Shoulder pops Out of Socket and I am unable To Move it at all until I pop it Back into Place And when I do I'm Left With alot Of Pain That Hasent Seem To Go away and I keep Poping it out of Socket, Right now My Shoulder Is a Bit Rested Will these Exersizes Help Make My Shoulder more Stable?????!!?

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