Empty can Test (Jobe Test)

 Empty can Test (Jobe Test)

What does empty can test (Jobe Test) indicate?

Empty can test or as it called Jobe Supraspinatus Test is a special test used to check for weakness or insufficiency of the supraspinatus muscle and rotator cuff impingement of the shoulder.

It was first described by Christopher M. Jobe, MD, an Orthopedic surgeon in Oroville, California.

See Also: Rotator Cuff of the Shoulder

How do you perform the empty can test?

Empty can test may be performed with the patient standing or seated.

The empty can test can be performed similarly with the humerus externally rotated, this called a full can test.

Full can test:

What does a positive Empty can test mean?

Sensitivity & Specificity

A Cohort Study 1 by Nitin B Jain found that empty can test (Jobe test) had a high sensitivity and specificity for supraspinatus tears as following:

The full can test had higher specificity (74% vs. 68%) and an equal sensitivity of 77% when compared with the empty can test in a series of 136 patients 2.


Related Anatomy

Rotator Cuff Anatomy
Rotator Cuff Anatomy


  1. Nitin B Jain, Jennifer Luz, Laurence D Higgins, Yan Dong, Jon J P Warner, Elizabeth Matzkin, Jeffrey N Katz. The Diagnostic Accuracy of Special Tests for Rotator Cuff Tear: The ROW Cohort Study.Am J Phys Med Rehabil. 2017 Mar. PMID: 27386812.
  2. Itoi E, Kido T, Sano A, Urayama M, Sato K. Which is more useful, the “full can test” or the “empty can test,” in detecting the torn supraspinatus tendon? Am J Sports Med. 1999 Jan-Feb;27(1):65-8. doi: 10.1177/03635465990270011901. PMID: 9934421.
  3. Campbel’s Operative Orthopaedics 13th Book
  4. Clinical Tests for the Musculoskeletal System 3rd Edition.
  5. Dutton’s Orthopaedic Examination, Evaluation, And Intervention 3rd Edition.

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