Purpose: Aid in diagnosing rotator cuff tears or subacromial impingement.
Test Position: Sitting or standing.
Performing the Test: The examiner passively elevates the patient’s shoulder to 90 degrees of abduction with internal rotation. The examiner then applies a downward pressure against the arm. A positive test is the provocation of pain or abnormal weakness.
Diagnostic Accuracy: Unknown.
Importance of Test: The supraspinatus tendon is the most commonly torn muscle of the rotator cuff musculature. By placing the tendon in a position of abduction and internal rotation, the examiner is testing the strength of the supraspinatus. If the supraspinatus muscle tests weak or painful, it could be an indication of a rotator cuff tear or impingement in the subacromial space. Further tests and measures are necessary to make a definitive physical therapy diagnosis. Note that an article written by Castoldi et al, "External rotation lag sign revisited: accuracy for diagnosis of full thickness supraspinatus tear," stated that the Jobe Sign produces a high rate a false-positives, resulting in a low specificity in determining different stages of impingement syndrome.
[This test is very similar to the empty can test]
Note: these tests should only be performed by properly trained health care practitioners.