Speed test (shoulder)
Citation, DOI, disclosures and article data
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The Speed test is used to clinically assess for biceps tendon pathology.
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The actions of biceps brachii are supination of forearm and flexion at elbow joint. It is supplied by the musculocutaneous nerve.
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.
- 1. Bennett W. Specificity of the Speed's Test: Arthroscopic Technique for Evaluating the Biceps Tendon at the Level of the Bicipital Groove. Arthroscopy. 1998;14(8):789-96. doi:10.1016/s0749-8063(98)70012-x - Pubmed
- 2. McFarland E & Borade A. Examination of the Biceps Tendon. Clin Sports Med. 2016;35(1):29-45. doi:10.1016/j.csm.2015.08.004 - Pubmed
- 3. Crenshaw A & Kilgore W. Surgical Treatment of Bicipital Tenosynovitis. J Bone Joint Surg Am. 1966;48(8):1496-502. - Pubmed