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Rotatory Drawer Test

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Other Names

  • Rotatory Drawer Test
  • Posterolateral Rotatory Drawer Test


When examining the patient's left elbow, the arm is secured between the right arm and body of the examiner (A). The humerus is held securely with the examiner's left hand, while a posterolateral rotatory force is applied to the proximal radius with the fingertips of the right hand (B). Although maximal instability generally occurs between 20° and 40° of flexion, it should be assessed in multiple angles (C). A positive test is confirmed by a visible posterolateral subluxation of the radial head, which is typically accompanied by dimpling of the skin between the radial head and capitellum (D)[1]
  • To evaluate the integrity of the lateral elbow in patients with elbow pain


  • The patient is supine on an examination table
  • Arm abducted overhead with elbow flexed 40-90°
  • Support wrist with one hand
  • Apply posteromedial force on radius
  • Radius & ulna will rotate around an intact UCL
  • Positive test
    • Radial head subluxation posteriorly



  • Unknown

See Also


  1. Camp, Christopher L., Jay Smith, and Shawn W. O'Driscoll. "Posterolateral rotatory instability of the elbow: part I. mechanism of injury and the posterolateral rotatory drawer test." Arthroscopy Techniques 6.2 (2017): e401-e405.
Created by:
John Kiel on 7 April 2022 13:18:11
Last edited:
19 May 2023 19:20:56