Anterior Shear Test

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The purpose of the anterior shear test, also referred to as the anterior instability test, is to evaluate the stability of the structures that prevent anterior translation of the lumbar vertebrae in conjunction with other tests and methods[1].

Technique[edit | edit source]

Have the patient in the side-lying position with their spine in a neutral position, knees flexed, and hips flexed from 70-90°. The Physical Therapist will stand on the patient's side with their thigh against the patient’s knee. The Physical Therapist will use their cephalic hand to stabilize the upper segment that is being examine, and will use their 3 medial fingers of their cephalic hand to contact the spinous process of the upper segment to block posterior movement during the test. The therapist will place their lateral 3 fingers of their caudal hand over their cephalic hand to further resist posterior movement of the upper segment. The cephalic index finger and the caudal 5th finger will rest on spinous process of the lower segment. The Physical Therapist will provide an axial force with their anterior thigh through the patient’s femur to produce a posterior force through the pelvis and lumbar spine. Posterior movement of the lower segment would indicate a positive sign for the Anterior Stability Test.[2]

Evidence[edit | edit source]

More research is required to determine the sensitivity and specificity of this particular special test[1].

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 William T., Karas S., Baughman E. Addition of the anterior shear test in diagnosing lumbar segmental instability: a case report. Orthopaedic Practice. 2018; 30: 26-27.
  2. Week 6 Lumbar Special Tests [Unpublished Lecture Notes]. DPT 611: Musculoskeletal Physical Therapy II, Arkansas Colleges of Health Education; Lecture given – 2022 September 12th