Speed test (shoulder)

Last revised by Patrick O'Shea on 04 Jun 2022

The Speed test is used to clinically assess for biceps tendon pathology.

Procedure

In this test, the examiner places the patient's arm in shoulder flexion, external rotation, full elbow extension, and forearm supination. Manual resistance is then applied by the examiner in a downward direction or the patient is asked to elevate the arm against resistance by the examiner.

The test is considered to be positive if pain can be reproduced in the bicipital tendon or bicipital groove.

A positive Speed test result is usually thought to suggest inflammation or lesions related to the biceps/labral complex.

History and etymology

The test bears the name of renowned American orthopedic surgeon James S. Speed (1890 - 1970), though it was first described in 1966 by two of his colleagues 3.

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