A prospective evaluation of a new physical examination in predicting glenoid labral tears.

Authors: Liu SH, Henry MH, Nuccion SL.

References: Am J Sports Med. 1996 Nov-Dec;24(6):721-5.

We studied 62 patients (40 men and 22 women) with an average age of 28 years over a 28-month period who presented with shoulder pain that was refractory to 3 months of conservative management. Patients with a prior glenohumeral dislocation or a rotator cuff tear were excluded. The "crank" test was performed with the arm elevated to 160 degrees in the scapular plane of the body, loaded axially along the humerus, and with maximal internal and external rotation. Although similar tests have been described, the crank test is a new examination previously unreported. Half of the patients (31) had a positive crank test. Arthroscopy performed on all 62 patients revealed glenoid labral tears in 32 patients. Two patients who had positive crank tests did not have labral tears but had partial-thickness, articular-side rotator cuff tears. The sensitivity of the crank test was 91%, the specificity was 93%, the positive predictive value was 94%, and the negative predictive value was 90%. With these data, the crank test fulfills the criteria as a single physical examination test that is highly accurate for the preoperative diagnosis of glenoid labral tears. Accordingly, expensive imaging modalities currently used in this patient population may be employed less in the future.

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