Name of test

Elbow flexion

What it tests

Passive motion of course assesses the joint surface itself. If passive motion is normal, then active motion assesses the function of three muscles:, the brachialis, the biceps and the brachioradialis.

How to do it

Gently move the subjects arm from full extension to full flexion. If that is normal, ask the subject actively repeat that twice: first without resistance and then with your resistance applied.

The normal response

Passive flexion is to about 135 degrees, but side to side symmetry is a better assessment of normal. Active motion should match passive, with good strength.

What it means if not normal

Most of the strength comes from the brachialis. Weakness may reflect a distal biceps tear (especially if weakness is more pronounced if the test is repeated with the forearm is is pronanted). Injury to either the musculocutaneous nerve or the C5 or C6 nerve roots can also produce weakness of elbow flexion



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