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Forearm pronation

Name of test

Forearm pronation

What it tests

Passive motion assesses the radiocapitellar joint of the elbow. If passive motion is normal, then active motion assesses the function of the pronator teres and pronator quadratus

How to do it

"Shake hands" with the subject. Passively move the subject's forearm from full supination to full pronation. Repeat against resistance

The normal response

Painless and full motion

What it means if not normal

Weakness may reflect a median nerve or C6 lesion. The pronator teres, the muscle powering this motion, is rarely torn. In fact, in one study, forearm pronation weakness was more frequent motor finding in C6 radiculopathies than wrist extension, the "classic" finding.


Although side-to-side testing is a useful approach, recall that supination strength is usually noticeably greater than pronation strength (to say nothing of the fact that the dominant arm is also stronger)


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Academic Resources

Resources on Forearm pronation from Pubget.

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