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What Is Jobe's Test?

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  • Written By: C.B. Fox
  • Edited By: Susan Barwick
  • Last Modified Date: 12 November 2016
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Jobe's test is one of a number of physical diagnostic tests use to examine a patient with a possible shoulder injury. The test is easy to perform and requires only the doctor's expertise and the patient's report of pain or discomfort. Though the results of the test are not measured by scientific instruments, it can still accurately indicate whether a problem exists. Once a possible problem is found through Jobe's test, a patient can have other tests performed, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), to give the doctor a clearer understanding of the underlying cause of the pain in the shoulder.

A doctor performs Jobe's test while the patient is fully conscious. The patient is asked to lie down on an exam table and the arm that has a possible shoulder injury is extended out from the patient's body. The elbow is then bent to an angle of 90 degrees with the patient's thumb pointing toward the patient's body and the fingers toward the patient's feet. The forearm is then rotated in the direction of the patient's head.

The rotation in Jobe's test ends when a patient indicates growing discomfort in the shoulder. At this point, the doctor will record information about the angle of the patient's arm at the most posterior angle the patient was comfortable rotating it. The arm is then returned to a neutral state, resting next to the patient.

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After this preliminary part of Jobe's test has been conducted, the doctor then presses down against the patient's shoulder and repeats the rotating movement. The doctor stops rotating the shoulder when the patient either feels pain or discomfort or becomes apprehensive that the movement will cause pain. Once again, the angle of the shoulder when the patient stops the test is noted.

In order to determine whether there is a possible shoulder injury through the use of Jobe's test, the doctor compares the results of the first rotation with the rotation that also included pressure on the shoulder. Patients with injuries of the rotator cuff will often show a more limited range of motion when pressure is applied to the shoulder. This test is particularly useful when attempting to diagnose an injury to the anterior portion of the rotator cuff, a part of the shoulder that may not show signs of injury when subjected to other tests. Patients with a positive result on Jobe's test are often examined further through the use of other diagnostic tools to determine the extent of the injury.

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