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Shoulder Circumduction Test

The Shoulder Circumduction test is a test of shoulder flexibility, in which a sliding handle is held in the hands and passed over the head. The results take into account shoulder width and arm length (as does the Acuflex III Shoulder Rotation Test). Another shoulder flexibility test designed for testing the elderly is the Back Scratch Test.

purpose: to measure shoulder flexibility

equipment required: a cord that has a fixed handle on one end and a sliding handle on the other. A similar device may be the Acuflex III Shoulder Rotation Apparatus.

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. See more details of pre-test procedures.

procedure: First arm length is measured from the acromion to the metacarpal phalanx joint of the middle finger with a tape measure (this is used for the results calculation). Next measure shoulder width, from acromion to acromion. Adjust the sliding handle so that the length of the cord between the inside of the two handles is equivalent to the participant’s shoulder width. Then, holding the two handles of the cord, the participant passes the cord, from in front of the body, over the head and as far back as possible. This movement must be made with extended arms, and participants must try to keep their arms from fanning out more than is physically necessary to complete the movement.

scoring: After a practice trial, the best score of three trials is recorded. Higher scores indicate better performance. The score is the angle of fanning out, in degrees, calculated with the following formula where S = how much the sliding handle shifted in centimeters during the movement and L = length of the arm in centimeters from acromion to the metacarpophalangeal joint of the middle linger.

Score Angle (°) = arc cos S/2L

target population: this test was designed specifically for the elderly population.


The Test in Action

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