Clinical Special Tests

The Clinical Special Tests provides High Yield information that is needed for the USMLE Step 1,2,3, COMLEX Level 1, 2, and 3, Medical School, Residency, and as a practicing Physician.

Table Of Contents

Clinical Special Tests


Anterior spinothalamic tract

Cerebral cortex

Lateral spinothalamic tract

Posterior columns


Corneal light reflex

Cover uncover test 
  1. Ask the patient to focus straight ahead at a near fixed point like your nose
  2. Cover one of the patient’s eyes
  3. Inspect for movement of the other eye as it focuses on your nose
  4. Remove the cover and watch again as the eyes refocus
  5. Repeat test on the opposite eye looks for nystagmus which would indicate strabismus


Rinne test 
  • strike the tuning fork, put it on patient’s mastoid, once they tell you they can’t hear it anymore then move the tuning fork to beside their ear and wait for them to not be able to hear it anymore.
  • air conduction should be heard twice as long as bone conduction.
  • if bone conduction is longer than air conduction on the side of lateralization ==> conductive hearing loss.
  • if air conduction is longer than bone conduction on the side of lateralization ==> sensorineural hearing loss

Weber test


Aortic regurgitation

Aortic stenosis

Mitral regurgitation

Mitral stenosis



Chest excursion



Pleural friction rub

Tactile fremitus

Whispered pectoriloquy


Brudzinski sign

Kernig sign


Adson’s Test

Apley scratch

Apprehension test

Apprehension test (posterior)

Distraction test (AC)

Drop arm test


Feagin Test

Hawkins test (impingement test)

Jerk test

Jobe Relocation Test

Load and Shift Test

Military Brace/ Eden Test

Neer Impingement Test

Shoulder Glides/Shoulder Drawer

Speeds test

Spurlings test

Sulcus test

Underberg tests


Wrights test



Golfer’s elbow test

Ligamentous stability test of the elbow

Tennis elbow test (cozen’s sign)

Tinel’s sign at the elbow



Phalen test

Tinel’s test


Capillary refill


Carnett’s sign
  • have patient raise both legs off the table while you palpate the abdomen, patient pain intensifies
  • the easing of the pain of abdominal palpation with tightening of the abdominal muscles.
  • Ex: Hematoma in the abdominal wall
  • If the cause is visceral, the taut abdominal muscles could guard the source of pain from the examining hand.
  • In contrast, intensification of pain with this maneuver points to a source of pain within the abdominal wall itself.
Cullen’s sign

Kehr’s sign

Iliopsoas muscle test

Murphy’s sign


Breggars test

Grey turner’s sign

Lloyd’s sign

Lumbosacral spring

Straight Leg


Ely’s Test
  • Test: Rectus Femoris
  • Patient: Prone
  • Physician: Flex pt knees
  • Positive Test: The hip on ipsilateral side spontaneous flexes

FABER / Patrick Test
  • Test: Hip or SI Joint
    • Flexion
    • Abduction
    • External Rotation
  • Patient: Supine
  • Physician: Cross pt one leg over other, F, AB, ER the hip
  • Positive: Anterior – Hip, Posterior – SI joint

  • Test: Femoral Acetabular Impingement
    • Flexion
    • Adduction
    • Internal Rotation
  • Patient: Supine
  • Physician: Beside pt, F, ADD, IR the hip
  • Positive: Anterior Lateral Hip Pain, “C” Sign

Flexion Test
  • Standing
    • Physician seated, pt standing, Thumbs on PSIS
    • Pt forward flexes at waist
    • POSITIVE – asymmetry
    • Indicates: Iliosacral SD on ipsilateral side
  • Seated
    • Pt seated on stool/table, physician thumbs on PSIS, pt forward flexes
    • POSITIVE – asymmetry
    • Indicates: sacroiliac SD on ipsilateral side

Fulcrum Test
  • Test: Stress Fracture Femur
  • Patient: Seated, Knees extended
  • Physician – one hand under femur, other hand on top of knee, applies pressure
  • Positive – elicits pain in femur

Hamstring Test
  • Test: Hamstring
  • Patient: Supine
  • Physician: Flex pt hip to 90, then extend knee
  • Positive: Inability to extend the knee, Measure the contracture

Hoover sign (leg paresis)
  • Test: Leg paresis, functional weakness / conversion disorder
  • Involuntary extension of the normal hip occurs when flexing the contralateral hip against resistance
  • Patient: Supine
  • Physician: hold one hand under the heel of the normal limb and ask the patient to flex the contralateral hip against resistance, asking the patient to keep the weak leg straight while raising it.
  • Positive: Physician does not feel the normal leg’s heel pushing down as the patient flexes the hip of the weak limb, then this suggests functional weakness (aka conversion disorder), effort is not being transmitted to either leg.

Obers test
  • Test: + IT band tight, test for contraction of the tensor fascia lata and ITB
  • Patient: Lateral Recumbant
  • Physician: Behind pt, stabilize pelvis with one hand and support the pt leg with other, abduct hip and flex knee to 90, allow leg to drop to table
  • Positive: Leg stays abducted

Pelvic Rock Test
  • Test: Restriction or SD of SI joints or pelvis
  • Innominate Rock Test
  • Patient: Supine
  • Physician: Both hands over ASIS, apply alternating forces
  • Positive – Firm palpatory findings

Pelvic side shift

Quadricep Test
  • Test: Quadriceps
  • Patient: Prone
  • Physician: Flex pt knee, heel to
  • Positive: Inability for heel to touch buttocks, Measure the contracture

Spring Test
  • Test: Sacral dysfunction
  • Patient: Prone
  • Physician: Gentle pressure
  • Positive: Resistance to force
  • Indicates: Sacral SD – unilateral or bilateral backward sacrum

Stork Tests
  • Stork test (one-leg standing hyperextension test) – exacerbates pain
  • related to spondylolysis, spondylolisthesis, or sacroiliac joint dysfunction

Thomas test

Trendelenburg test (Hip drop test)


Anterior drawer

Apley’s Compression

Apley Distraction Test


Howship-romberg sign

Lachman’s test

Ligamentous stability test of the knee


Patellar grind

Posterior drawer test




Gordon sign

Homan’s sign

Moses’ sign

Oppenheim sign

Schaeffer sign

Thompson-Doherty Squeeze Test


Anterior drawer of ankle


Babinski or Chaddock sign

Gonda or Stransky sign


Need More High Yield Resources