Within the Sports massage therapy level 4 certificate you will be shown and taught many differing special tests that enable you to make clear and concise treatment plans. One of the tests on the shoulder is the EmptyCan Test, along with the Full Can Test is a commonly used special test for supraspinatus impingement or integrity of the supraspinatus muscle and tendon.
Starting Position: - With the client sitting or standing. On the side you are testing use one of your hands to stabilises the client’s shoulder girdle. The arm being tested move into 90 degrees of forward flexion in the plane of the scapula (approximately 30 degrees of abduction), ensure full internal rotation with your client’s thumb pointing downward as if emptying a can of fizzy pop or signalling you’re not happy!
Test Movement: - Your other hand applies downward pressure on the superior aspect of the distal forearm and the client tries to resist.
A Positive Test: - The Test will be considered a positive one if there is significant pain and/or weakness reported by the client. The feeling of Pain by itself is less accurate than an actual weakness, especially when arm is tested in a full can position (45degrees of external rotation) as pain can be the result of supraspinatus tendonitis or other injured or inflamed structures. Any weakness could be the result of an actual tear in the supraspinatus muscle or tendon. Pain is usually felt in the subacromial region but can sometimes be felt into the upper arm.