Common Elbow Tests in Orthopedic Examination

The following is a list of the many common tests used by physical therapists / physiotherapists and other orthopedic/orthopaedic practitioners when examining the elbow. The tests will eventually have links to descriptions of the tests as well as video demonstrations.  Before learning about the examination of the elbow it is useful to review basic elbow anatomy and basic elbow biomechanics. If you know of a test that should be included in this list, please let us know.

By Anatomist90 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
By Anatomist90 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

The elbow joint is made up of three bones; the humerus of the upper arm and the radius and ulna of the lower arm (forearm). It is a synovial hinge joint. The movements of the joint are flexion, extension, pronation and supination.  The elbow is one of the most commonly dislocated joints in the body. The following is a list of some of the many special tests that have been developed for the elbow.

Orthopedic Special Tests for the Elbow

  • Cozen’s Test (Lateral Epicondylitis)
  • Golfer’s Elbow Test (Medial Epicondylitis)
  • Mill’s Test
  • Passive Tennis Elbow Test
  • Pinch Grip Test
  • Tinel’s Sign
  • Valgus Stress Test
  • Varus Stress Test

Special Tests for Orthopedic Examination

First published more than 20 years ago, Special Tests for Orthopedic Examination, now in its Fourth Edition, continues to follow the authors’ initial goals of providing a simple, pocket-sized manual for practical learning purposes.

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