Shoulder problems are one of the most common complaints that doctors need to diagnose. Speed’s test and Yergason’s test are both ways for your doctor to physically examine the area around your shoulder.
Both tests require you to perform certain motions with your doctor. Your reaction to these motions can help your doctor figure out what’s causing your shoulder problems. Overall, they’re simple, fast, and useful tests.
The Yergason and Speed tests both work with the area around the ball-and-socket joint in your shoulder. A number of different tissues and bones come together to make this joint function. The main body parts that these tests are designed to evaluate include your:
These body parts can become injured in a number of ways. Examples of problems that these tests are designed to detect include:
Your posture and positioning matter when you’re performing Yergason’s test. Make sure to listen to your doctor and their instructions as they guide you through the motions of this test. You should pay particular attention to any sensations of pain and weakness felt during the movements.
To perform Yergason’s test, you:
One of the most common problems with this test is in the positioning of your hand, so pay particular attention to the direction that your palm is facing while you perform Yergason’s test.
After completing this test on your injured arm, your doctor should also perform the test on your other arm for comparison.
A positive on Yergason’s test means that you have a problem with your shoulder. The exact problem depends on what you and your doctor feel. If your doctor feels your tendon popping out of place or clicking and snapping, it’s probably because your humoral ligament is torn. If you feel pain even though they don’t feel any popping, you may have a problem like tendonitis or a SLAP tear.
To perform Speed’s test, you should listen carefully to your doctor. There are a few different variations on this test. As with Yergason’s test, you should pay attention to feelings of pain and weakness throughout Speed’s test.
To perform the first variation on Speed’s test, you:
In one variation on this test, you start with your arm already lifted and almost parallel to the ground. Your doctor will provide resistance as you continue to lift your arm.
Another variation is available if it’s too painful for you to perform the versions described above. This version is identical to the first variation, but your palm should face behind you instead of facing forward throughout the motion. When you finish, your palm should face the ground, not the ceiling. This posture puts less strain on your biceps tendon, though it could still be painful.
Pain is the main reaction that your doctor is looking for during this examination. Pain is a positive result in terms of this test.
A positive on Speed’s test means that one of a number of complications has occurred in your shoulder. This pain could indicate:
Keep in mind that these tests aren’t foolproof. They could miss relevant injuries. Plus, the sensations and results can vary from person to person. Once your doctor has performed one or both of these tests, they may try other physical tests for shoulder injuries.
Examples of other shoulder tests include:
Follow-up could also include imaging tests like magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). These can help your doctor both confirm the presence of certain injuries and determine how severe they are.
Depending on the injury, their treatment advice could include:
Arthroscopy: “Accuracy of the Speed’s and Yergason’s tests in detecting biceps pathology and SLAP lesions: comparison with arthroscopic findings.”
Cleveland Clinic: “Yergason’s Test.”
Stanford Medicine: “Introduction Shoulder Exam.”
The University of West Alabama, Livingston: “Speed’s Test,” “Yergason’s Test.”
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