Clunk Test for Shoulder Labral Tear – Ask Doctor Jo

Clunk Test for Shoulder Labral Tear – Ask Doctor Jo

Oh hey everybody is Doctor Jo and Brian. he
is my model for the day today I’m going to show you the clunk test which tests
for labral tears. so let’s clunk away. So the clunk tests, I’m gonna let Brian go ahead and lie down, you want to get the person lying
down, is for the labrum in your shoulder. and just to remind you that
there’s a labrum in your shoulder and your hip and this one’s for the shoulder.
and the reason it’s called a clunk test, I always think it’s funny because it
sounds kind of clunky, but that’s because it is because you’re trying to reproduce
a clunk or a grinding kind of feeling in the shoulder, and that just means that
the labrum has been torn and it’s no longer stable in that shoulder. and you
can sometimes get it to clunk in and out, but also remember that these special
tests have false positives and have false negatives, so just because you have
a positive, doesn’t necessarily mean you have a labral tear and just because you
have a negative doesn’t mean that you don’t. I’ve had a labral tear. I’ve had it
repaired already, but I didn’t have a positive clunk test and sometimes that
is because if your patient or the person that you’re testing is really painful,
I’ve had patients before, yeah exactly, he’s being silly, but they can’t even get
to here before they start getting painful. so it’s really hard to do a
special test when they’re already having pain and limited range of motion because
this really needs to be them being completely relaxed from the test. so if
they are able to, the way you do the test is you put your hand underneath
their shoulder joint at that glenohumeral joint the GH joint, just to
make sure that you can feel and push that area for that clunk. bring them into
abduction coming up this way, and then kind of grab them at the elbow because
you’re gonna laterally rotate or externally rotate while you’re pushing
up anteriorly. so I’m just trying to get that clunk or grinding sound, and again
it might be really painful for them as well. and I said “sound,” you might hear it,
but they might feel – they might say it feels really grindy.
so what I’m doing is I’m externally rotating as I’m pushing up, and if
you they do that, or you might even feel a little clunk in there, then that’s a
positive sign for that test. but again remember pain is usually a positive but
that doesn’t necessarily mean that there’s a labral tear. it could be a
rotator cuff issue. it could be an impingement issue. it could be a whole
lot of things. so this is really just to help narrow down what’s going on. so that
was your clunk test to test for shoulder labral tears. if you’d like to find some
stretches and exercises to help with that if you happen to have a positive,
make sure you click on the link up here, but remember just cuz that’s a positive
doesn’t necessarily mean there’s a labral tear, it just means you should
definitely look further into it. if you’d like to help support my channel make
sure you click up here, and don’t forget to subscribe by clicking down here. and
remember be safe (no clunking), have fun, and I hope you feel better soon.

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About the Author: John Markowski


  1. Hi doctor I talked to you before but I question I'm 26 years old girl with bad posture of my back and arthritis in my back my Dr recommend for me to go the gym and I've been going to the gym since 4 months with personal trainer now I have pain in my upper back and chest muscles in the right side so what do you think Dr what should I do?

  2. I've had slap tear surgery and rotator cuff surgery (ex-goalkeeper)…most recent slap tear (3 anchors) was in early 2016. I have had the greatest recovery and am at a personal near strongest in my life. 38 but feel 28. The other day though I stupidly used a post hole digger and hit a rock—my shoulder sort of felt like it came out of joint but I've separated my shoulder a few times and it wasn't the same feeling. That feeling was overshadowed by the nerve tingling. My concern is though that my ulnar nerve went crazy and felt it whole arm all the way to the pinky and ring finger. Then afterwards in the truck, my upper lat or teres major/minor muscle started spasms (non painful). Those went away quick and it felt like workout soreness. It's been about a week and the joint feels solid but my scapula feels like its flaring out again. Plus just a little extra grinding but no major concern, as it has done that since first "pop" out in 2001.

    What does an anchor failing feel like? With the motion I explained–could it have just slightly popped out and was just inflamed. The spasms, do they just appear after subluxation or just a weird coincidence? I can do pushups no problem (just feels a little different with possible flaring) and have done all the tests that I can remember. The problem is I am 6'1 and 230 pounds and workout regularly (pride myself on strength), so even when something is wrong–my strength covers it up and its hard to tell mechanically because other muscles pick up the slack. I have moved from my doctor (Kleinery & Kutz Dr. Farner) and am almost thinking of making a trip down there to see him—but would like to not travel all the way across country. Sorry for the novel but you should understand me trying to be as descriptive as possible –with the surgeries I've had. haha. If you reply, thanks–if not, my only suggestion is to show exactly where your right hand is on the gh joint–or tips on how to know you're exactly on it.

  3. Mam I am jeeva from INDIA
    my MRI scan report says that
    Anterior labral tear, and
    Adhesive capsulitis.
    My doctor advised me to do some exercise mam. But I have some fear mam.., because will cure or not mam

  4. Hey Dr. Jo, you mentioned having a tear . Did you have a surgery on it? If so, how did the rehab go after and function today. Thanks!

  5. Is slap lesion pain temporary? i took ptr session for 1 – 1,5 month and i am still doing the exercises with a band for 3 4 month. But sometimes when i train my shoulder or do push/pull exercises , its hurt a little(not everytime). Sometimes this pain persist for 1-3 days after training. How can i get rid of this pain? Are there any other things that leads to pain indirectly?

  6. There’s two of them now. Double the trouble. Double the excitement. Just kidding.

    Okay, so I have a slap lesion 1, as the doctors put it, on my left shoulder. It clicks when I move it. I feel pinching pain (like stabbing) pain. I can move it pretty well and do all kind of stretches with it, but when I try to hold it up, after a minutes I start to struggle keeping it up there. I’ve tried cortisone injection, but that only helped for like 6 weeks. The doctors reckon I don’t need an operation as it is a small tear.

    My questions:

    How many times should I do these exercises a day, or week? Because after I do shoulder exercises, I start to feel some pain the following day.

    Will these exercises heal my tear, or is it impossible for tears to be fixed with exercises?

    Side note: I’ve been watching a lot of Dr. Sebi’s videos on natural herbs that can heal pretty much everything – so I’ve also changed my diet. Don’t know if you believe in that stuff.

  7. Hello dr jo thanks for your helpful videos.
    I have pain in my right shoulder only when doing rear shoulder press or dumbbell press. I still can do side rises exercise and machine shoulder press without pain but little discomfort. I know it need more tests and examination to locate the exact problem but based on that info can you please tell me what causes that pain and if its serious injury or not .

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