Shoulder Palpation

Rotator Cuff Tendons


  • Cyriax and Cyriax (1993): Palpable just off the anterior medial aspect of the acromion and "passes near vertical, lateral and parallel to the bicipital groove" when the arm is in shoulder adduction, full IR and slight extension
  • Hawkins and Bokor (1990): Palpable just off the anterolateral aspect of the acromion when the shoulder is in adduction, IR, and less extension, so that patients forearm is against the stomach

Infraspinatus and Teres Minor

  • Cyriax and Cyriax (1993) and Magee (1997): Prone on elbows position where shoulde is in slight flexion, adduction, and lateral rotation. Infraspinatus is located just off the posterolateral corner of the acromion, with the teres minor just below
  • Mattingly and Mackarey (1996): Shoulder is placed in 90 degrees of flexion, 10 degrees of shoulder adduction, and 20 degrees of ER. The tendons are palpated just inferior to the posterolateral corner of the acromion


  • Mattingly and Mackarey (1996): shoulder in adduction with neutral flexion/extension and IR/ER. Tendon palpated in the middle of the deltopectoral triangle. Landmarks for the subscapularis tendon are inferior to the clavicle, lateral to the coracoid and biceps short-head tendon, and medial to the bicep long-head tendon in the intertubercular groove of the humerus (Ellenbecker 2004)

Biceps Long-head Tendon

  • Mattingly and Mackarey (1996): GHJ in adduction and 20 degrees of IR placews the tendon in the deltopectoral triangle.

Order of Palpation

  • Davies and DeCarlo (1995)
    • SCJ anteriorly
    • Clavicle
    • ACJ
    • Coracoid Process
    • Lesser Tubercle
    • Subscapularis insertion
    • Biceps tendon
    • Supraspinatus Tendon
    • Infraspinatus and Teres Minor tendons
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