Cross Arm Test

Unpack how the Cross Arm Test works. Learn how to conduct the exam with our free downloadable PDF template.

By Ericka Pingol on Apr 08, 2024.

Fact Checked by Nate Lacson.

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What is a Cross Arm Test?

A shoulder impingement occurs when the rotator cuff's muscles, tendons, and ligaments become pinched between two bones in the shoulder joint. This can cause pain, limited range of motion, and even weakness in the affected arm. It is a common injury, especially among athletes who engage in overhead activities such as throwing a ball or lifting weights.

Treatment for impingement syndrome may include physical therapy, rest, and anti-inflammatory medications. Though in some cases, surgery may be necessary to repair the damage.

Physical therapists use the (also known as the Scarf Test) to diagnose shoulder impingement and other injuries. The test involves having the patient cross one arm in front of them, reaching towards the opposite shoulder. The therapist will then put pressure on the patient’s elbow to test for tenderness or pain.

If the patient experiences pain, this is a sign that they may suffer from shoulder impingement. In addition to the Cross Arm Test, a doctor may order an X-ray, MRI, or ultrasound to diagnose the injury further.

Printable Cross Arm Test

Download this Cross Arm Test to diagnose shoulder impingement and other injuries.

How does this Cross Arm Test work?

You can easily and quickly conduct the Cross Arm Test with our free comprehensive template. Here's how to get started:

Step One: Download the free worksheet

Get a copy of the Cross Arm Test using the link provided on this page or from the Carepatron app. Similarly, you can download it from our resources library.

Step Two: Explain the Cross Arm Test to your patient

Let your patient know that the Cross Arm Test is designed to detect shoulder impingement. Explain what shoulder impingement is and how it could affect them.

Step Three: Complete the Cross Arm Test

Use the instructions included in the template to conduct the exam. Ensure you check the patient’s arms, elbows, and shoulders for signs of impingement. Record your results in the template to keep track of them over time.

Step Four: Assess the Results

Once you have completed the exam, review your results. Look for any changes in range of motion or pain indicative of shoulder impingement.

Cross Arm Test Interpretation

The Cross Arm Test is a quick and handy way to assess for shoulder impingement. The results will indicate whether or not you should refer your patient to a physical therapist for further evaluation.

If the patient reports pain when their arm is crossed over, there is a good indication that shoulder impingement could be present. Other signs to look for include decreased range of motion when crossing the arms, difficulty lifting the arm above shoulder height, and pain or tenderness when the arm is lowered.

Cross Arm Test example (sample)

We have prepared a Cross Arm Test PDF example to illustrate how our free template works. You can use this sample for educational purposes or as a reference in your practice. View the sample here or download the PDF version.

Download the free Cross Arm Test example (sample)

Cross Arm Test example (sample)

When to use this Cross Arm Assessment?

The Cross Arm Test can be used to assess the flexibility of the shoulder joint and associated structures. You may use this exam if or when:

You’re concerned about shoulder impingement

The Cross Arm Test is a fantastic assessment to determine whether the pain is present during shoulder movement. It can help identify shoulder impingement and provide valuable insight into the cause of your patient’s pain.

You need to assess range of motion in the shoulder

The Cross Arm Test can be used to compare the range of motion on two sides. It is beneficial to assess rotator cuff strength and shoulder flexion. You can use the exam results as a baseline for your treatment plan and tailor the exercises to suit the patient’s needs.

You’re looking to identify any muscular imbalances or tightness in the shoulder

This exam can help you assess the patient’s posture and determine if there is any muscular imbalance in the shoulder. You can also use it to check for tightness or weakness in the muscle. Using the Cross Arm Test, you’ll better understand what is causing your patient’s shoulder pain and how to treat it effectively.

Benefits of free Cross Arm Test

The Cross Arm Test is an easy-to-use and quick assessment tool that can help you understand the cause of shoulder pain. Here are some of its advantages:

It's simple

The test requires minimal equipment and can be conducted quickly during a routine office visit. You can easily pass instructions to the patient without drawing diagrams or demonstrating every step.

It's accurate

The Cross Arm Test can detect shoulder instability with high accuracy. It is especially good at detecting anterior and inferior glenohumeral instability, though it can also detect multidirectional instability.

It's fully digital

Our free worksheet is readily available in digital format. It can be printed out and filled in during a physical exam, or you can record your observations electronically.

It helps with treatment

The Cross Arm Test can help establish a diagnosis, allowing you to provide more accurate and targeted treatment. It can also be used to monitor and measure improvements during treatment.

Why use this Cross Arm Test app?

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With our advanced features, you can manage all aspects of your practice from one comprehensive platform. Enjoy secure patient data storage, streamlined scheduling, automated billing, and more – all with maximum security and convenience.

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We understand that running a practice isn’t easy – which is why Carepatron offers just the right solution! Get started today and see how our platform can help you simplify operations and take your practice to the next level!

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How to score the Cross Arm Test?
How to score the Cross Arm Test?

Commonly asked questions

How to score the Cross Arm Test?

This exam doesn't have a scoring system. Instead, clinicians analyze the results to make a diagnosis. A positive result indicates shoulder imbalances.

What does the Cross Arm Test measure?

The Cross Arm Test measures the ability of the patient's shoulder muscles to maintain a stable position against resistance. It is also used to assess range of motion in the shoulder joint and can help identify imbalances between the left and right sides of the body.

How to perform the Cross Arm Test?

Ask your patient to cross one arm over their chest, reaching to the positive shoulder. Then, gently apply pressure to the positive shoulder and ask them to resist your pressure.

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