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Apprehension Test

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Other Names

Apprehension Relocation Test
  • Apprehension and Relocation Test
  • Anterior Apprehension Test


Clinical demonstration of the apprehension test[1]


  • The patient is supine
  • Examiner flexes elbow to 90°, abducts shoulder to 90° while maintaining a neutral rotational status
  • The examiner then slowly externally rotates the shoulder at this position
  • Positive test:
    • Apprehension or guarding, not necessarily pain
    • Pain can suggest pathology other than instability
  • Note can apply "relocation" by applying a posterior force on the humeral head to reduce symptoms



  • Sensitivity: 53% [2]
  • Specificity: 99%
  • LR+: 53.0
  • LR-: 0.47

See Also


  1. King, Joseph J., and Thomas W. Wright. "Physical examination of the shoulder." The Journal of hand surgery 39.10 (2014): 2103-2112.
  2. Flynn, T.W., Cleland, J.A., Whitman, J.M. (2008). User's guide to the musculoskeletal examination: Fundamentals for the evidence-based clinician. Buckner, Kentucky: Evidence in Motion
Created by:
John Kiel on 9 July 2019 13:19:33
Last edited:
26 November 2023 15:32:25