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Orthop Clin North Am. 1988 Oct;19(4):767-72.

Recurrent anterior transient subluxation of the shoulder. The "dead arm" syndrome.

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Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts.


Attention is directed to a subtle, unresponsive cause of shoulder disability in the young adult who has sustained a forceful overextension of the shoulder. A careful office evaluation will identify this lesion. A number of factors differentiate it from the numerous other causes of shoulder disability. 1. Usually a young athletic adult. 2. A characteristic history of forceful overextension of the shoulder. 3. Poor response to routine types of treatment. 4. Negative radiographic study. 5. Usually a frustrated and discouraged patient because no one has diagnosed or helped his "dead arm." 6. Consistent physical findings of a positive apprehension test.

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