There are a number of manual testing techniques that can be used to indicate problems with the rotator cuff muscles. Here we deal specifically with a well used test for supraspinatus.
The muscles are tested using active resisted movement to isolate any symptoms to the contracting muscles. A positive test involves pain and often weakness on contracting the affected muscle. Weakness will be felt with partial or full-thickness tears of the rotator cuff, but may also be present with tendinitis due to pain inhibition of the affected muscle.
The examiner stands alongside the patient on the affected side. The examiner will position the arm into 30 ̊ of abduction, and then while supporting the patient around their waist on the opposite side, ask the patient to resist the attempt to push the arm into adduction.
Note: All tests performed should compare both shoulders either to detect bilateral pathology or to establish a control for comparison with the affected shoulder.