Shoulder Range Of Motion Charts

Use our free chart template to assess your patient’s shoulder range of motion to detect any underlying injuries.

By Patricia Buenaventura on Jul 05, 2024.

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Fact Checked by Nate Lacson.

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What is a Shoulder Range of Motion Chart?

When a patient presents themself with problems with their shoulder (e.g., shoulder pain, anterior shoulder instability, rotator cuff tear, rotator cuff tendonitis, etc.), healthcare professionals will recommend having them undergo a shoulder exam to assess the affected shoulder and its relevant parts such as the rotator cuff muscles, biceps tendon, glenohumeral joint, and more.

To guide themselves during such exams and to help record patient results, they will use a Shoulder Range of Motion Chart or a similar document. Typically, a Shoulder Range of Motion Chart consists only of illustrations or images of a specific movement of the shoulder that a patient must do while undergoing testing. Our take on this document, however, differs.

On our Shoulder Range of Motion Chart, you can expect to see the following:

  • Basic information on the patient, examination date, and your name
  • Images of the movement you must ask the patient to do to test their shoulders' range of motion
  • Inquiries of any presence of pain when doing the movement and the quality of the movement
  • A dedicated space per movement for any additional observations/findings

Your shoulder joint is made-up of five joints and three bones. These include the clavicle or the collar bone, the scapula, which is your shoulder blade, and the humerus, which is the long bone in the upper arm. To move your shoulders correctly, the range depends on your muscles, ligaments, bones, and individual joints.

There are also various conditions that can affect your range of motion, such as fractures, sprains, strains, arthritis, tendonitis, and contusions. Some of them might even be a result of a cervical spine issue. X-rays, ultrasounds, and physical exams may be needed to assess the cause for the limited range of motion.

Normal shoulder range of motions

There are various shoulder range of motions that you must consider:

Shoulder flexion

The normal range for shoulder flexion is 180 degrees. This concerns moving your arms starting from the palms against your body, to the highest point that you can raise your arms over your head.

Shoulder extension

The normal range is between 45 and 60 degrees. This is the highest point you can lift your arm behind your back, starting with your palms against your body.

Shoulder abduction

The normal range is around 150 degrees this involves starting with your palms at the sides of your body, and placing your hands above your heads with your arms straight.

Shoulder adduction

The normal range is 30 to 50 degrees depending on the flexibility of your body. This is different for everyone, because if your chest or biceps are muscular, it may be more difficult to move arms inward. But essentially, shoulder abduction is when you move arms towards the middle of your body, or if you hug yourself.

Medial rotation

The normal range for medial rotation is 70 to 90 degrees. For this, turn your palms towards your body, bending your elbows at 90 degrees, so your hands are essentially in front of you. Keep your elbows against your body, and begin to move your forearms towards the centre of your body.

Lateral rotation

The normal range here is about 90 degrees. All you have to do is hold your elbows against your body, and swing your forearms away from your body.

‍If you think our version of a Shoulder Range of Motion Chart is what you need during your practice, we have good news for you. We prepared a template you can easily access and download. For instructions on how to do so, proceed to the section below.

If you're looking for other relevant resources, feel free to watch this video:

Shoulder Range Of Motion Charts Template

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Shoulder Range Of Motion Charts Example

Download Example PDF

How does it work?

Using our template is fairly straightforward. Follow the steps below:

Step 1: Access and download the template

Access and download the printable Shoulder Range of Motion Chart by doing either of the following: 

Step 2: Conduct a range of motion test

After filling out the basic essential information, such as the patient's name, examination date, and your name, you may conduct the test by asking your patient to do the movements indicated on the Shoulder Range of Motion Test template one at a time. 

Feel free to customize your template further before conducting the test or after if you would like to add more movements you'd like your patient to do, like external rotation, forward flexion, and internal rotation.

Here are three common shoulder range of motion tests that you can conduct to assess shoulder mobility:

  • Passive range of motion (PROM): During the PROM test, an examiner moves the individual’s arm in different directions. The patient relaxes during this exercise and doesn’t actively participate.
  • Active range of motion (AROM): For AROM, the individual uses their own strength to move their arm in various positions.
  • Active-Assistive Range of Motion (AAROM) – During AAROM, the patient uses their own strength to move their arm partially and is then assisted by an examiner to extend it further.

Step 3: Record the results

As soon as your patient is finished with a movement, it's recommended that you write down the results of each movement. Specifically, it's best to record the following: 

  • How far, in degrees, can they do the movement
  • Absence or presence of pain
  • Quality of the movement
  • Any additional observations or findings

Step 4: Proceed with the next steps (optional)

If your patient expresses pain or their results are worrying or are indicative of an underlying problem, you must have them checked or tested to confirm the specific problem. These can include having them undergo provocation tests, an apprehension test, and imaging tests to confirm the specific problem (e.g., AC joint pathology, rotator cuff tears, etc.)

Shoulder Range of Motion Chart example (sample)

Here's a Shoulder Range of Motion Chart sample template featuring a fictional client. It is downloadable as a printable PDF document. Hopefully, this will give you insight into how this assessment may look when completed.

Grab a copy of our sample for educational purposes or a reference offline by viewing the example below or clicking the “Download Example PDF” button above.

Download this Shoulder Range of Motion Chart example here:

Shoulder Range Of Motion Charts Example (sample)

When would you use this shoulder ROM chart?

Practitioners who specialize in checking one's shoulder, such as physical therapists, orthopedic doctors/therapists, sports medicine physicians, and general physicians, may use our Shoulder Range of Motion Chart template when:

  • They are checking for underlying injuries or conditions a patient may have
  • The patient is about to participate in a sport or work in a profession wherein movement of shoulder muscles is heavily involved
  • The patient feels the following symptoms: can't move shoulder/arm, numbness in one's shoulder/arm, severe pain in one's shoulder/arm

Benefits

Quick assessment tool

Checking one's shoulder ROM is one of the quickest assessments a practitioner can do to check if there's anything the patient must be concerned about. It can be added to a routine check-up for health reasons or even during a physical examination when the patient expresses pain in the shoulder or arm. 

Gain insight into your patient's shoulder condition

The template can be used as a jumping-off point to a conversation, especially if the patient does the movement requested but feels pain, exerts too much/little effort, or can't reach the maximum extent. 

Establish baselines for comparison later

Though the examples above point toward first visits, the template can be used as a baseline document. With the information on the template, the practitioner can see the effectiveness of the treatment plan provided to the patient and adjust accordingly depending on the recovery progress.

Versatile

Our free Shoulder Range of Motion Chart was designed to be used by different professionals, not limited to specialists. Though a licensed physical therapist or occupational therapist is recommended to conduct the test, general and sports medicine physicians can also use the template during a quick check-over of their patients. 

Why use Carepatron as your primary practice management app?

Practitioners who are most likely to use the shoulder ROM chart template, like physical therapists, can also benefit from the features and tools available on Carepatron. If you're a shoulder specialist, you can benefit from using Carepatron too!

With Carepatron's software and device-friendly app, you can download, complete, and store your shoulder ROM chart template and much more. You can automate tasks and streamline processes such as:

Scheduling

Have control over your schedule. Give patients the autonomy to request appointments during their free time. Easily view all approved requests on your Google/iCal calendar and our built-in calendar by turning on the sync feature. Then, to reduce no-shows, set up automated reminders to be sent to patients via email or SMS. 

Managing clinical documents

Everything you'll ever need to produce and transfer clinical documents to create notes is on Carepatron. With over 1000 downloadable, editable, and printable templates of medical tests and documents, you can save time on creating these important documents from scratch. Furthermore, keeping a digital copy will allow you to easily store these records on Carepatron's secure, HIPAA-compliant storage. 

Handling online payments

Provide patients with easier payment options, remind them of their due, automate invoice creation, and process payments with Carepatron. Our features allow you and your staff to be paid on time without the hassle of contacting your patients who haven't paid yet. 

These are only a few of the many services Carepatron offers! Don't miss out on the chance to improve the caliber of your practice. Sign up on Carepatron today!

Practice Management System

Who typically uses Shoulder Range Of Motion Charts?
Who typically uses Shoulder Range Of Motion Charts?

Commonly asked questions

Who typically uses Shoulder Range Of Motion Charts?

Practitioners who specialize in anything connected to the shoulder - whether that's examining, diagnosing any condition/injury, or treating - such as physical therapists, orthopedic therapists, general physicians, and sports medicine physicians, are more like to use the Shoulder Range of Motion Charts template.

When are Shoulder Range Of Motion Charts used?

It is designed to be used while the referring physician conducts a shoulder range of motion test. In a broader context, however, it can be used to examine a shoulder for a possible injury, check if the physical therapy sessions are effective, and determine if a patient can participate in activities where the shoulder is heavily used.

How is Shoulder Range Of Motion Charts used?

These charts are primarily used as a document to take down the test results. However, it can also be used as a guide when conducting the test or as a reference for any treatment after discovering an underlying injury.

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