The supine apprehension test helps predict the risk of recurrent instability after a first-time anterior shoulder dislocation

Charles Milgrom*, Yael Milgrom, Denitsa Radeva-Petrova, Saleh Jaber, Saul Beyth, Aharon S. Finestone

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: We previously identified the positive result of the supine apprehension test after completion of rehabilitation following a first dislocation as a possible predictor of high risk for redislocation. We extend the follow-up of a previous cohort of patients with first-time shoulder dislocations to better assess this test. Methods: Fifty-three men aged 17 to 27 years who sustained a first traumatic shoulder dislocation were treated by shoulder immobilization for 4 weeks and then rehabilitated with a standard physical therapy protocol. At 6-week follow-up, a supine anterior apprehension test was performed to assess the risk of redislocation. The patients were observed prospectively for a minimum of 75months. Results: Of the 53 participants, 52 (mean age, 20.2 years) completed the study follow-up. Of the 52 subjects, 41 (79%) were combat soldiers. Follow-up was between 75 and 112months. Of the 52 subjects, 31 (60%) redislocated at a range of 3 to 70months after the initial dislocation. Eleven of 14 subjects (79%; confidence interval, 52%-92%) with a positive anterior apprehension test result redislocated, compared with 20 of 38 patients (53%; confidence interval, 37%-68%) with a negative test result. Patients with a positive test result redislocated more and earlier (. P=.02, PROC LIFETEST, SAS). Conclusions: The results of the supine apprehension test after a first shoulder dislocation and rehabilitation can help predict risk for recurrent instability. It potentially may be included as a variable in decision analysis models.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1838-1842
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery
Issue number12
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2014


  • Anterior apprehension test
  • Recurrent dislocation
  • Risk
  • Shoulder dislocation
  • Soldiers


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