The pectoralis minor length test: a study of the intra-rater reliability and diagnostic accuracy in subjects with and without shoulder symptoms

Jeremy S Lewis  and Rachel E Valentine

Postural abnormality and muscle imbalance are thought to contribute to pain and a loss of normal function in the upper body. A shortened pectoralis minor muscle is commonly identified as part of this imbalance. Clinical tests have been recommended to test for shortening of this muscle. The aim of this study was to evaluate the intra-observer reliability and diagnostic accuracy of the pectoralis minor length test.  Measurements in supine from the treatment table to the posterior aspect of the acromion was measured on two occasions in 45 subjects with and 45 subjects without shoulder symptoms.   The results showed that this pectoralis minor length test was found to have excellent intra -observer reliability for dominant and non-dominant side of the subjects without symptoms, and for the painfree and painful side of the subjects with symptoms.  The authors concluded taht although the pectoralis minor length demonstrates excellent clinical reliability, clinicians using this test to inform the clinical reasoning process with regard treatment planning must do so with caution due to its lack of specificity.

BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders, 2007, 8(64) 

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