Unlocking the Diagnosis: Subacromial Impingement Syndrome and Effective Tests

Procedure Information

September’s Five Minute Assessment Assistant

Diagnosing Subacromial Impingement Syndrome:

Subacromial impingement syndrome is a frequent cause of shoulder pain. Calis et al. review the accuracy of a battery of tests to facilitate an accurate diagnosis of the condition contributing to the shoulder pain. The recommended tests include the Hawkins, Neer and painful arc tests.

How to: Hawkins Test (sensitivity, 92%; specificity, 25%),

The arm of the patient is flexed up to 90 degrees and then forced to internal rotation. If pain occurs, the test is then positive.

How to: Neer Test (sensitivity, 89%; specificity, 30%),

While scapular rotation is prevented with one hand, the arm of the patient is forced to elevation at an angle between flexion and abduction, by the other hand. Test is positive if pain occurs.

With a high sensitivity these tests are great for ruling Subacromial impingement out.

How to: Painful Arc Test (sensitivity, 32%; specificity, 80%)

Pain occurs between the angle of 60 and 120 degrees of shoulder abduction

With a high Specificity the Painful arc test is great for confirming Subacromial Impingement.

Hope this helps! Looking forward to seeing you soon!


From the team at Australian Sports Physiotherapy
Ivanhoe, Coburg, East Doncaster, Preston, Richmond, East Melbourn



Caliş, M., Akgün, K., Birtane, M., Karacan, I., Caliş, H., & Tüzün, F. (2000). Diagnostic values of clinical diagnostic tests in subacromial impingement syndrome. Annals of the rheumatic diseases, 59(1), 44–47. https://doi.org/10.1136/ard.59.1.44

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