The anterior apprehension test is used to assess for anterior shoulder instability.

Performing the Test

  1. Start by passively abducting the patient's arm to 90°, externally rotating it to 90°, and flexing the elbow to 90° (thrower’s position)
  2. The examiner then applies force to the posterior humeral head
  3. The test is positive if the patient feels apprehensive about dislocation or feels pain
  4. Sensitivity: 88%; specificity: 50%
  5. LR+ = 1.8; LR- = 0.2


  1. Essential Evidence Plus. 2011. Accessed February 2011.
  2. Magee D. Orthopedic Physical Assessment. 1st ed. Philadelphia:Saunders; 1986.
  3. Hurley K. OSCE and Clinical Skills Handbook. Halifax: Elsevier Canada; 2005.