What is the Hornblower’s Test?
The Hornblower’s Test (also knows as Hornblower’s Sign or the Patte Test) is a common special test used in orthopedic physical assessment and examination of the shoulder. The test targets the muscles of the rotator cuff. The test is very simple to perform and is reliable.
- teres minor muscle
- teres minor tendon
- infraspinatus muscle
- infraspinatus tendon
The test is usually performed with the patient in standing but can also be performed with the patient in sitting. The arm to be tested is elevated to 90 degrees of shoulder abduction in the scapular plane. The elbow is to be in 90 degrees of flexion and is externally rotated.
In the starting position the examiner applies an internal rotation force to the forearm or wrist. The patient is asked to resist movement, thereby attempting to externally rotate (laterally rotate) the shoulder.
The Hornblower’s test is considered positive if pain is reported by the patient and/or significant weakness is noted by the examiner.
When referred to as the Hornblower’s Sign, it is generally considered positive if the patient is unable to hold the arm themselves in the text position; holding the arm up with the hand to the mouth as if blowing a horn.
Accuracy of Test
The Hornblower’s Test has been shown in studies to be an accurate and reliable test of teres minor integrity. However, it can be susceptible to clinical bias and its actual validity in isolating the teres minor has been brought into question.
Additional Shoulder Tests that may be of interest:
>> Return to the list of Orthopedic Tests of the Shoulder