Bear Hug Test

Learn about the Bear Hug Test and get a free PDF with an example. Discover how to use this exam to assess your patient's shoulder condition.

By Ericka Pingol on Jun 03, 2024.

Fact Checked by Ericka Pingol.

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What is a Bear Hug Test?

Shoulder injuries are common among athletes, especially those in contact sports such as football and rugby. They can also occur from everyday activities such as carrying heavy bags or repetitive motions like reaching overhead. They can range from minor strains to more serious, debilitating conditions.

The most common shoulder injury is rotator cuff tendonitis, which causes the tendon in the shoulder joint to become inflamed and irritated. Rotator cuff injuries can cause when moving your arm away from your body or lifting objects overhead. Other conditions include impingement syndrome, bursitis, labral tears, and tendinopathy.

Healthcare providers use a to diagnose shoulder injuries. This exam helps determine the presence and severity of a shoulder injury. The test is relatively simple but must be done carefully to ensure accuracy.

To perform the test, the patient is asked to stand upright and put their arm across their chest as if hugging a stuffed bear toy. The healthcare provider then applies pressure to the elbow with their hands and asks the patient to resist gently. If there is any pain, it can indicate a shoulder injury.

Check out this video to see how the Bear Hug Test is performed:

Printable Bear Hug Test

Download this Bear Hug Test to assess your patient's shoulder condition.

How does a Bear Hug Test work?

A Bear Hug Test is a quick and straightforward way to assess your patient's shoulder joint. You can use our free template to get started. Follow the steps below:

Step One: Download the free Bear Hug Test

Access the free worksheet using the link provided on this page. Similarly, you can get a copy from the Carepatron app or our resources library.

Step Two: Explain the exam to your patient

Explain the process to your patient, ensuring they understand how this exam works. Tell them that the test is used for diagnosing shoulder injuries and impairments.

Step Three: Conduct the exam

Using the instructions on the template, perform the Bear Hug Test. Make sure your patient follows each step as closely as possible, and be sure to provide feedback along the way.

Step Four: Document your results

Record the results of your examination on the template. Make sure to note any areas of discomfort or pain that your patient experiences while performing each movement.

Step Five: Review the results

Look through your findings and ensure they are consistent with the diagnosis. If any movements indicate a different condition, note this in your documentation.

Bear Hug Test example (sample)

Our Bear Hug Test PDF example illustrates how this test work, allowing you to understand better how to jot down findings for your patient. It can be used for educational purposes or as a reference. You can view it here or download the sample as a PDF.

Download the free Bear Hug Test example (sample)

Bear Hug Test example (sample)

Bear Hug Test Interpretation

The Bear Hug Test helps assess the flexibility of the shoulder joint and can be used to diagnose conditions such as rotator cuff tears, impingement, instability, or labral tears. A positive result indicates the presence of a possible shoulder injury and should be followed up with further testing, such as imaging or manual tests, to confirm the diagnosis.

When would you use this test?

Medical professionals typically use this free Bear Hug assessment during physical examinations. It can also be used to assess an athlete's shoulder joint flexibility and the effects of treatment or rehabilitation. You can also administer this if or when:

You want to check for the presence of specific shoulder conditions

The Bear Hug Test is an essential tool in diagnosing shoulder joint problems. It helps provide a more comprehensive picture of a patient's condition. It can be used to detect the presence of shoulder joint-related conditions such as adhesive capsulitis, shoulder impingement syndrome, rotator cuff tears, and biceps tendonitis.

Your patient is experiencing pain in their shoulder joint

You can use this exam to pinpoint the exact location of shoulder pain, allowing you to determine where the pain originates from in the shoulder joint. It can also help to rule out other potential causes.

You want to evaluate the patient's range of motion

You can use this exam to check the shoulder's range of motion. It allows you to assess how much the patient can rotate internally and externally and test the strength of their shoulder muscles.

Benefits of free Bear Hug Test

Our free Bear Hug Test provides healthcare professionals with a quick and easy way to evaluate their patients' shoulder joints. Here are some of its other benefits:

It's extremely easy to administer

The Bear Hug Test doesn’t require any special equipment or setup, so you can use it within minutes of meeting your patient.

It’s incredibly accurate

The Bear Hug Test has been proven to be a reliable way of accurately assessing shoulder mobility and strength. You can depend on the results you get from this test to help inform your diagnosis and treatment plan.

It’s cost-effective

The Bear Hug Test is a cost-effective way to assess shoulder function since it requires no expensive equipment or specialized training. This makes it an excellent choice for both clinics and patients.

It helps patients voice out their concerns

The Bear Hug Test helps patients to communicate their shoulder pain and discomfort more clearly. This can be especially helpful for those who may not understand healthcare professionals' terminology.

It's highly versatile

The Bear Hug Test can assess various shoulder issues, including rotator cuff tears, labral tears, and impingements. It can also help determine the effectiveness of treatments and evaluate changes in shoulder function over time.

Why use Carepatron as your Bear Hug app?

If you're a physical therapist searching for the perfect practice management software, look no further than Carepatron!

Our user-friendly platform makes managing patient records and scheduling easier than ever. Plus, with access to real-time data and reporting features, you'll have all the information you need right at your fingertips. With our reliable system, you can rest assured that your practice is running smoothly.

In addition, Carepatron provides secure data storage and HIPAA-compliant features to keep your patient's information safe and private. So no matter what kind of therapy you provide, we have the security solutions you need to make sure your patients' data is secure.

We understand that patient care is your top priority. That's why we work hard to ensure our practice management software is easy to use and understand. Try out Carepatron today and take your practice to new heights!

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How to perform Bear Hug Test?
How to perform Bear Hug Test?

Commonly asked questions

How to perform Bear Hug Test?

Ask your patient to place one arm across their shoulder to perform the test. Then, put pressure on their elbow with your arm and ask them to resist. If there is pain or discomfort during the test, it may be indicative of an injury to the shoulder.

What does the Bear Hug Test measure?

The Bear Hug Test measures the strength and stability of the shoulder joint. It assesses various shoulder issues, including rotator cuff tears, impingement, tendinitis, and instability.

What is the reliability of the Bear Hug Test?

The Bear Hug Test is a reliable indicator of shoulder injuries and has been used in clinical research studies. However, it is essential to note that it is not a diagnostic tool and should be used as part of a complete evaluation by a medical professional.

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