Purpose of Test: To test for the presence of subacromial impingement.
Test Position: Sitting or Standing.
Performing the Test: While scapular rotation is prevented with one hand, the arm of the patient is forced to elevate in a scapular range of motion. The test is positive if pain occurs. The original test is described with the shoulder in neutral rotation, while other versions place the shoulder in internal rotation.
Importance of Test: Remember that in subacromial impingement, as the arm is elevated in the scapular plane, there is a decrease in the amount of space between the greater tuberosity of the humerus and the acromion. Some clinicians place the arm in internal rotation before elevating it, but the original test described by Neer does not indicate this. Patient with Subacromial impingement can have pain with arm in internal rotation or external rotation, so arm position was not specified. The article which we are referencing reported that both the Neer Test and Hawkins-Kennedy Tests had the highest sensitivity of all subacromial impingement tests. While they had high sensitivity, both had lower specificity, diminishing the discrimination ability of these tests for subacromial impingement.
Note: these tests should only be performed by properly trained health care practitioners.
Reference: "Diagnostic values of clinical diagnostic tests in subacromial impingement syndrome"