Drop Arm Test

Drop Arm Test (or Drop Sign) is used to check for the integrity of the supraspinatus muscle of…
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 Drop Arm Test

What is Drop Arm Test?

Drop Arm Test (or Drop Sign) is used to check for the integrity of the supraspinatus muscle of the rotator cuff of the shoulder.

How it’s Performed?

Drop Arm Test
Drop Arm Test

What does a positive Drop Arm Test mean?

Weakness in maintaining the position of the arm , with or without pain, or sudden dropping of the arm suggests a rotator cuff lesion, most often this is due to a defect in the supraspinatus muscle.

Sensitivity & Specificity

A literature review 1 in MEDLINE was performed for physical examination tests/maneuvers of the rotator cuff tears, and found that drop arm test has the following accuracy:


Related Anatomy

Supraspinatus Muscle:


  1. Nitin B. Jain, MD, MSPH, Reginald Wilcox, PT, Jeffrey N. Katz, MD, MS, and Laurence D. Higgins, MD: Clinical Examination of the Rotator Cuff. PM R. Author manuscript; available in PMC 2014 Jan 1. PMID: 23332909.
  2. Miller CA, Forrester GA, Lewis JS: The validity of the lag signs in diagnosing full-thickness tears of the rotator cuff: a preliminary investigation. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2008 Jun; 89(6):1162-8. PMID: 18503815.
  3. Park HB, Yokota A, Gill HS, El Rassi G, McFarland EG: Diagnostic accuracy of clinical tests for the different degrees of subacromial impingement syndrome. J Bone Joint Surg Am. 2005 Jul; 87(7):1446-55. PMID: 15995110.
  4. Yuen CK, Mok KL, Kan PG: The validity of 9 physical tests for full-thickness rotator cuff tears after primary anterior shoulder dislocation in ED patients. The American journal of emergency medicine. 2012 Feb 29. PMID: 22386341.
  5. Murrell GA, Walton JR. Diagnosis of rotator cuff tears. Lancet. 2001 Mar 10;357(9258):769–770. PMID: 11253973.
  6. Campbel’s Operative Orthopaedics 13th Edition Book.
  7. Clinical Tests for the Musculoskeletal System 3rd Edition.
  8. Dutton’s Orthopaedic Examination, Evaluation, And Intervention 3rd Edition.

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