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3* Detection of a "Painful Arc"


A "painful arc" means temporary pain during an (active or passive) movement. The pain appears during the movement and disappears before the end of the movement

How to detect ?

  • A painful arc is often seen ad mid-range during the active or passive elevation of the arm.
  • Sometimes the arc is more present during elevation in internal rotation (palm of the hand down) sometimes more during elevation in lateral rotation (palm up).
  • Sometimes the pain is so intense that elevation cannot actively be performed beyond 90. If the movement is then further conducted passively, the pain will disappear again before the end of the movement is reached (painful arc).
  • Occasionally a painful arc may be present on medial rotation only: the pain is provoked halfway the movement but disappears before the end is reached.
  • The commonnest pathological situations are:

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