Anterior Drawer test is a shoulder stability examination to determine if there is anterior instability of the glenohumeral joint capsule. The test is useful where results from the apprehension test are inconclusive or difficult to interpret.


  1. Patient supine
  2. Examiner grasps the patient’s arm with one hand and palpates with the other hand over the coracoid process and posterior scapula (attempting to stabilise the scapula).
  3. Examiner then applies long axis distraction on the humerus.
Shoulder examination for shoulder instability

Examiner applies long axis distraction on the humerus.


Positive Anterior Drawer

    Increased motion or apprehension→ anterior glenohumeral instability
    Local pain→ rotator cuff ligament damage

Clinical Notes:

A palpable click or clunk may be noted as the humerus subluxates in and out of the glenoid fossa.