Empty Can Test for Shoulder Impingement

The Empty Can Test is used to assess the supraspinatus muscle and supraspinatus tendon.

Empty Can Test for Shoulder Impingement


The patient can be seated or standing for this test. The patient's arm should be elevated to 90 degrees in the scapular plane, with the elbow extended, full internal rotation, and pronation of the forearm. This results in a thumbs-down position, as if the patient were pouring liquid out of a can. The therapist should stabilize the shoulder while applying a downwardly directed force to the arm, the patient tries to resist this motion. This test is considered positive if the patient experiences pain or weakness with resistance.
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