examination of the shoulder girdle

Clinical examination of the shoulder girdle


The shoulder girdle acts as a zone of transition. It is localized between three other regions: the cervical spine, the upper thoracic spine and the shoulder.


Symptoms from a disorder in the shoulder girdle are not typical. They mimic those of neck, upper thorax or shoulder.

History-taking will therefore start in the same way as for the examination of the cervical (see Chapter 6) or thoracic spine (see Chapter 25) or of the shoulder (see Chapter 12). The examiner will notice elements that may lay blame on the spinal joints (e.g. pain shifting from the centre to one side) or features that point towards a lesion of the shoulder girdle (e.g. increase of symptoms following scapular movements).

Functional examination

The functional examination of the shoulder girdle is never done as primary testing but follows evaluation of one of the other regions, which may provide elements that implicate the shoulder girdle.

If the patient has described symptoms that could originate from the spine or from the shoulder, the cervical, thoracic or shoulder examination is performed. When, in this examination, signs are found that point towards the shoulder girdle (e.g. positive scapular tests), these will be examined thoroughly.

When the history is unspecific a preliminary examination (quick survey) of the upper quadrant is done (see p. 212). This includes tests for:

Jun 5, 2016 | Posted by in ORTHOPEDIC | Comments Off on examination of the shoulder girdle
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