Adams forward bend test

Last revised by David Luong on 14 Feb 2022

The Adams forward bend test is a clinical test to assess the presence of scoliosis.


Exclusion of a limb length discrepancy is considered important prior to performing the test. The patient is asked to bend forward with feet together, arms hanging and knees extended until the back becomes horizontal,

The examiner assesses from behind looking for indicators of scoliosis which include:

  • spinal asymmetry
  • unlevelled shoulders
  • scapular asymmetry
  • unlevelled hips
  • head not lining up with the pelvis
  • a rib hump

History and etymology

It was first described by William Adams in 1865 1.

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