The Rent Test (or Transdeltoid Palpation test) is used to diagnosis the full thickness tear of the shoulder rotator cuff.
How do you perform the Rent Test?
The patient sits or stands with the involved arm relaxed and hanging on the side.
The clinician stands behind the patient and holds the patient’s distal arm with the patient’s elbow flexed to 90 degrees.
The clinician then passively moves the patient’s glenohumaeral joint into full extension, which allows greater palpation of the humeral head and tendons inserting into the greater tuberosity.
Palpation is performed at the anterior margin of the acromion. While palpating this area with the shoulder in the fully relaxed and extended position, the clinician moves the patient’s arm into internal and external shoulder rotation to allow further palpation of the rotator cuff tendons.
What does a positive Rent Test mean?
In the presence of a complete rotator cuff tear, the eminence of the greater tuberosity appears quite prominent to palpation, and the torn area feels like a sulcus “rent”, or soft-tissue defect (depression of approximately 1 finger-width) that has avulsed from the tuberosity.
Palpating the anterior and posterior margins of the cuff tear may elicit an avulsed edge.
It is recommended that this test be used to determine the absence or presence of a rotator cuff tear rather than the size of the tear.
Sensitivity & Specificity
One study by Wolf 1 to assess the diagnostic accuracy of transdeltoid palpation (the rent test) for the diagnosis of full thickness rotator cuff tear, Transdeltoid palpation was found to have a:
Wolf EM, Agrawal V. Transdeltoid palpation (the rent test) in the diagnosis of rotator cuff tears. J Shoulder Elbow Surg. 2001 Sep-Oct;10(5):470-3. doi: 10.1067/mse.2001.117126. PMID: 11641706.
Dutton’s Orthopaedic Examination, Evaluation, And Intervention 3rd Edition.