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Apley's Shoulder Scratch Test

Apley's Scratch Test is a simple flexibility test of the shoulder. There are two parts of the test, reaching the opposite scapula (shoulder blade) from either above or below. A modified version of this test, only reaching from above, is part of the Brockport Assessment. See also the similar Back Scratch Test.

purpose: This test measures shoulder range of motion.

equipment required: none

pre-test: Explain the test procedures to the subject. Perform screening of health risks and obtain informed consent. Prepare forms and record basic information such as age, height, body weight, gender, test conditions. Perform an appropriate warm-up, including shoulder-stretching activities. See more details of pre-test procedures.

procedure: This test is performed in the standing position. The subject attempts to reach back with one hand and touch the superior medial angle of the opposite scapula. No rapid movement is allowed, they must be able to hold that position for 1 to 2 seconds. This is an assessment of the shoulder's abduction and external rotation.

Apley's scratch shoulder flexibility test demonstrated by Olive WoodApley's Scratch Test part 1

With the same hand, reach back and attempt to touch the inferior angle of the opposite scapula, and hold that position for 1-2 seconds. This is an assessment of the shoulder's internal rotation and adduction.

Apley's scratch shoulder flexibility test demonstrated by Olive WoodApley's Scratch Test part 2

Test both the left and right shoulders.

scoring: One trial is given for each arm. For the Brockport assessment, the scoring is between 0 and 3, as follows:

3—Touch the superior medial angle of opposite scapula
2—Touch the top of the head
1—Touch the mouth
0—Unable to touch the mouth

advantages: this is a simple test to conduct requiring no equipment.

notes: do not proceed with the test if the subject experiences pain.

The Test in Action

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