Elbow extension test

Dr Henry Knipe et al.

The elbow extension test is a clinical decision rule aimed at reducing the number of unnecessary elbow radiographs in patients aged ≥3 years. 

The test has a specific examination whereby the seated patient, with the arm in supination and 90º shoulder flexion, is asked to fully extend the elbow to a locked position.

50% of patients who cannot fully extend their elbow have an ~50% risk of elbow fracture and radiography is recommended. Patients who can fully extend their elbow and an olecranon fracture is not suspected, radiography is recommended if symptoms persist beyond 7-10 days. 

The elbow extension test has a reported sensitivity of 96.8% and specificity of 48.5% for detecting elbows fractures with a negative predictive value of 98.4% in adults (age ≥15 years) and 95.8% in children aged 3-15 years. 

Share article

Article information

rID: 54692
Tag: refs
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:

Support Radiopaedia and see fewer ads

Updating… Please wait.

Alert accept

Error Unable to process the form. Check for errors and try again.

Alert accept Thank you for updating your details.