Full Can, Ortho Tests, Shoulder - orthopedic tests, Videos

Full Can Test

Patient Position

  • Seated or standing
  • Shoulder elevated to 90° in the scapular plane
  • Forearms fully pronated (thumb UP)

Procedure Steps

  • Examiner instructs the patient to resist downward pressure on the elbow.

Positive Sign / Significance

  • Pain, weakness in shoulder = Supraspinatus tendinitis/tear


  • The supraspinatus is best isolated with the thumb UP (full can test), rather than with the thumb DOWN (empty can test)
  • The empty can test is more likely to cause pain, and therefore may not show true weakness of the supraspinatus (due to a tear).
    • The full can test is now thought to be better because of this.

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