Hawkins Test

Learn all about the Hawkins Test, its scoring, and when to use it. Download a free PDF template and get a sample guide.

By Audrey Liz Perez on Feb 27, 2024.

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What is a Hawkins Test?

The Hawkins Test is a clinical test used to diagnose impingement of the rotator cuff and other structures in the shoulder joint. It is named after Dr. Kennedy Hawkins, an American orthopedic surgeon who described the test in 1980. The test is typically performed by a qualified health professional who has received appropriate training in musculoskeletal assessment.

During the Hawkins Test, the patient's arm is positioned with the elbow flexed to 90 degrees and the shoulder abducted to 90 degrees. The examiner then stabilizes the patient's elbow and forearm and forcefully internally rotates the patient's arm. If this movement causes pain or discomfort in the shoulder, it may indicate impingement of the rotator cuff or other structures.

The is often used in conjunction with other clinical tests and imaging studies to diagnose shoulder injuries and determine appropriate treatment plans. A positive test does not necessarily indicate a specific diagnosis but suggests the possibility of rotator cuff impingement or other shoulders joint pathology.

Printable Hawkins Test

Download this Hawkins Test to diagnose impingement of the rotator cuff.

How does this printable Hawkins Kennedy Test work?

A printable Hawkins-Kennedy Test template can help standardize the testing process and ensure accurate results. 

Here are the steps involved in using this template:

Step 1

Instruct the patient to stand or sit upright with the arm to be tested at the side of their body.

Step 2

Flex the patient's arm to 90 degrees at the elbow and elevate the arm to 90 degrees at the shoulder so that the arm is parallel to the ground.

Step 3

Place one hand on the patient's forearm to stabilize the elbow and prevent movement at the elbow joint.

Step 4

On the other hand, internally rotate the patient's arm by pushing down on the patient's wrist, causing the shoulder joint to rotate inward.

Step 5

During this movement, note any pain or discomfort reported by the patient.

Scoring

The Hawkins Test is typically scored based on the presence or absence of pain or discomfort during the test. A positive test indicates the presence of impingement, while a negative test suggests the lack of impingement.

It's important to note that a positive Hawkins Test does not necessarily indicate a specific diagnosis but rather suggests the possibility of rotator cuff impingement or other shoulders joint pathology. Additional testing, such as imaging studies, may be necessary to confirm the diagnosis. 

On the other hand, a negative Hawkins Test does not entirely rule out the possibility of shoulder impingement or other shoulder injuries. Therefore, it is crucial to consider the results of the Hawkins Test in conjunction with other clinical tests and imaging studies to diagnose shoulder injuries and determine appropriate treatment plans accurately.

Hawkins Test example (sample)

We have provided a sample filled-out template that can serve as a guide for health professionals performing the Hawkins Test. 

The sample includes the steps involved in conducting the test and an example of interpreting the results based on the patient's reported pain or discomfort. This sample can help standardize the testing process and ensure accurate results.

Download this Hawkins Test Example (Sample) here:

Hawkins Test example (sample)

When to use these Hawkins-Kennedy Tests?

The Hawkins Test is typically used to diagnose impingement of the rotator cuff and other structures in the shoulder joint. It may be appropriate to use this test when a patient presents with shoulder pain, limited range of motion, or other symptoms suggestive of shoulder pathology.

The Hawkins Test is a valuable tool for diagnosing impingement of the rotator cuff and other structures in the shoulder joint, which can cause pain, limited range of motion, and other symptoms. Shoulder impingement can result from various conditions, including rotator cuff tears, bursitis, tendinitis, and subacromial impingement syndrome.

In general, the Hawkins Test is used when a patient presents with symptoms suggestive of shoulder pathology, such as:

Shoulder pain

The patient may report pain or discomfort in the shoulder region, particularly around the front and top of the shoulder.

Limited range of motion

The patient may have difficulty moving the affected shoulder, particularly with overhead activities or reaching behind the back.

Weakness

The patient may report weakness in the affected shoulder or arm.

Clicking or popping: The patient may hear or feel clicking or popping in the shoulder joint during specific movements.

If a patient presents with any of these symptoms, a healthcare provider may consider performing the Hawkins Test as part of a comprehensive musculoskeletal assessment. The test results can help inform the diagnosis and treatment plan for the patient.

It is important to note that the Hawkins Test is not always diagnostic and may need to be used in conjunction with other clinical tests and imaging studies to determine the root cause of the patient's symptoms. 

A healthcare provider with expertise in musculoskeletal assessment should make the final diagnosis based on the patient's medical history, physical examination, and any relevant imaging or lab results.

Benefits of these free Hawkins Test Templates

Using a printable Hawkins Test template can offer several benefits for healthcare providers who use this test in their practice. Here's an explanation of each of the help:

Standardization

A template can help standardize the testing process and ensure accurate results. By providing a consistent set of instructions and guidelines, a template can minimize variability in how the test is performed, improving the reliability and validity of the results. This can be particularly important in clinical settings where multiple providers may be involved in administering the test.

Efficiency

Using a template can save time and streamline the testing process. Instead of writing out the instructions and recording the results by hand, providers can simply use the template to guide them through the test and record the results in a standardized format. This can help providers perform the test more efficiently and accurately, benefiting patients.

Accessibility

Templates are readily available and can be easily downloaded and printed. This can be particularly helpful for providers who may not have access to standardized testing materials or who work in remote or underserved areas. By providing a free, downloadable template, healthcare providers can have access to the necessary resources to perform the Hawkins Test regardless of their location or resources.

Consistency

Using a template can help ensure consistency in testing across different patients and providers. A template can ensure that the test is performed similarly for each patient by providing consistent instructions and guidelines. This can minimize variability in the results and make it easier to compare results across different patients or providers.

Record-keeping

A template can record the testing process and results, which may help track progress and make treatment decisions. By recording the testing process and results in a standardized format, providers can easily refer back to the results and track changes over time. This can help providers make informed treatment decisions and monitor the effectiveness of interventions over time.

Why use this Hawkins Test app?

Carepatron offers a comprehensive platform for musculoskeletal assessment, including the Hawkins Test. With Carepatron, healthcare providers can access various tools and resources to support the diagnosis and treatment of shoulder injuries and conditions. The platform features a user-friendly interface, customizable templates, and a secure, cloud-based system for storing and sharing patient information. 

In addition to the Hawkins Test, Carepatron offers a range of other assessment tools and resources for musculoskeletal conditions, including motion testing, strength testing, and functional assessments.

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Who created the Hawkins Test?
Who created the Hawkins Test?

Commonly asked questions

Who created the Hawkins Test?

The Hawkins Test is named after Dr. Kennedy Hawkins, an American orthopedic surgeon who described the test in 1980.

How to use the Hawkins Test?

To perform the Hawkins Test, the patient stands or sits upright with the arm to be tested at the side of their body. The examiner flexes the patient's arm to 90 degrees at the elbow, elevates the arm to 90 degrees at the shoulder, and then internally rotates the patient's arm by pushing down on the patient's wrist. During this movement, the examiner notes any pain or discomfort reported by the patient.

What does Hawkins test for?

The Hawkins Test is used to diagnose impingement of the rotator cuff and other structures in the shoulder joint. A positive test may suggest the presence of rotator cuff impingement or other shoulder joint pathology.

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