Neer Test – Orthopedic Shoulder Examination

What is the Neer Test?

The Neer Test (sometimes called Neer’s Test) is a common test in orthopedic examination of the shoulder. It is used to test for subacromial impingement of rotator cuff tendons. This is also known as Subacromial Pain Syndrome or Impingement Syndrome. The test is very simple to conduct and is quite reliable. Read about rotator cuff tears.

Involved Structures

  • supraspinatus tendon
  • infraspinatus tendon
  • subacromial bursa
  • long head of biceps tendon
Anatomy of the Shoulder Complex
Shoulder Diagram: supraspinatus, infraspinatus, long head of biceps
National Institute Of Arthritis And Musculoskeletal And Skin Diseases (NIAMS); SVG version by Angelito7, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Starting Position

The test is best performed with the patient in a relaxed standing position. The arm to be tested should be moved passively by the examiner. The patient’s arm of the shoulder to be tested is positioned such that the arm is relaxed at the side of the body and the elbow is fully extended.

Test Movement

From the starting position, the examiner internally rotates the patient’s arm and forcefully moves the arm through the full range of forward flexion or until reports of pain.

Neer Test - Demonstration
Neer Test for Rotator Cuff Impingement
Nasch92 [CC BY-SA 4.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Positive Test

The Neer test is considered positive if pain is reported in the anterior – lateral aspect of the shoulder.

Accuracy of Test

The Neer Test for shoulder impingement is commonly believed to be more accurate test for shoulder impingement than the Hawkins Test though some studies have found the reverse to be true.


Video Demonstration

>> Return to the list of Orthopedic Tests of the Shoulder

Other tests for rotator cuff pathology:

The Bare Minimum: Donatelli Shoulder Method Assessment and Treatment

The Bare Minimum: Donatelli Shoulder Method is an evidence based book that describes the assessment and treatment techniques of Dr. Robert Donatelli and Donn Dimond. It includes mobility testing, strength tests, and special tests along with mobilization techniques and exercises for treating shoulder pathophysiology.

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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