Transverse Humeral Ligament Test

What is Transverse Humeral Ligament Test?

The transverse humeral ligament test indicates transverse humeral ligamentous insufficiency, and it also indicates biceps tendinitis.

The transverse humeral ligament is also known as the Brodie ligament. It is a small broad ligament that extends between the lesser and greater tubercle of the humerus superior to the epiphyseal line.

It encloses the long head of the biceps brachii tendon and its sheath in the bicipital groove, thus forming a tunnel thus preventing it from subluxing out of the bicipital groove during shoulder movement.

The procedure of performing the Transverse Humeral Ligament Test

Position of the Examiner – The examiner stands behind the patient.

Position of the Patient – The patient remains in a seated position.

  • The examiner first abducts the patient’s arm to 90 degrees.
  • Then, the examiner internally rotates the arm, but with the elbow in an extended position. As you see in the diagram below.


  • From this position, the examiner externally rotates the arm while palpating the bicipital groove to verify whether the tendon snaps. As you can see in the diagram below.


Results of the Transverse Humeral Ligament test

This motion will cause the biceps brachii tendon to spontaneously displace out of the bicipital groove if there is a ligamentous insufficiency (transverse humeral ligament insufficiency).

The pain reported without displacement indicates biceps tendinitis.

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Clinical Tests for the Musculoskeletal System: Examinations-Signs-Phenomena by K. Buckup

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