Clunk Test for Shoulder Labral Tear

The clunk test is used for detecting shoulder labral tears, but remember a positive test doesn’t always mean there is a tear, and a negative doesn’t necessarily mean there isn’t one.

To perform the clunk test, have the patient lie down in supine. Place one hand on the posterior aspect of the shoulder over the humeral head. Place the other hand on the humerus above the elbow. Fully abduct the arm over the patient’s head, and then push anteriorly with the hand over the humeral head while the other hand rotates the humerus into external rotation. A clunk or grinding sound is a positive test, and can indicate a tear of the labrum.

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