The sulcus sign is used to assess for glenohumeral instability.

Performing the Test

  1. Start by having the patient stand with one arm by their side and shoulder relaxed
  2. The examiner then pulls the arm inferiorly at the upper arm
  3. The sign is positive or present if their is indentation observed between acromion and humeral head
  4. Sensitivity: 31%; specificity: 89%


  1. Luime JJ et al. 2004. Does This Patient Have an Instability of the Shoulder or a Labrum Lesion? JAMA 292(16):1989-1999.
  2. Magee D. Orthopedic Physical Assessment. 1st ed. Philadelphia:Saunders; 1986.