A comparison of physical examinations with musculoskeletal ultrasound in the diagnosis of biceps long head tendinitis

Ultrasound Med Biol. 2011 Sep;37(9):1392-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ultrasmedbio.2011.05.842. Epub 2011 Jul 20.


Provocative tests are useful in diagnosing biceps tendon tendinitis. This is the first study to establish the reliability of these tests by comparing the resuts with musculoskeletal ultrasound (US) findings. This study examined 125 patients (69 women and 56 men) and 143 shoulders with shoulder pain. Yergason's test, Speed's test and a bicipital groove tenderness test were performed and musculoskeletal US findings were used as standard reference. Biceps tendon tendinitis was diagnosed with US in 39.1% of the patients and, of those, 55.3% had coexisting rotator cuff injury. The sensitivity and specificity of Yergason's test were 32% and 78%, respectively. The sensitivity and specificity of Speed's test were 63% and 58%, respectively. In conclusion, all three tests are limited by poor sensitivity. US can be an image modality choice in diagnosing biceps pathology.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Physical Examination*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Rotator Cuff / diagnostic imaging*
  • Rotator Cuff / physiopathology
  • Rotator Cuff Injuries*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Shoulder Injuries*
  • Shoulder Joint / diagnostic imaging
  • Shoulder Joint / physiopathology
  • Shoulder Pain / diagnostic imaging*
  • Shoulder Pain / physiopathology
  • Tendinopathy / diagnostic imaging*
  • Tendinopathy / physiopathology
  • Ultrasonography