ULTT Test 3

Orthopedic Exam / Special Tests for Physical Therapy: SHOULDER

ULTT Test 3 – Upper Limb Tension Test 3 – RADIAL NERVE

The radial nerve originates as a terminal branch of the posterior cord of the brachial plexus, carrying fibers from the ventral roots of spinal nerves C5, C6, C7, C8 & T1. It goes through the arm, first in the posterior compartment of the arm, and later in the anterior compartment of the arm, and continues in the posterior compartment of the forearm.

The radial nerve supplies the medial, lateral, and long heads of the triceps brachii muscle of the arm, as well as all 12 muscles in the posterior osteofascial compartment of the forearm and the associated joints and overlying skin.

The radial nerve and its branches provide motor innervation to the dorsal arm muscles (the triceps brachii and the anconeus) and the extrinsic extensors of the wrists and hands; it also provides cutaneous sensory innervation to most of the back of the hand. The radial nerve then divides into a deep branch, which becomes the posterior interosseous nerve, and a superficial branch, which goes on to innervate the dorsum of the hand.

Special Test: ULTT 3 – Upper Limb Tension Test 3 (RADIAL NERVE)


  • To test for the Radial nerve as the source of the client’s painful shoulder and arm.

Video Demo Instructions, Procedure, Positive Test:

ULTT 3 – Upper Limb Tension Test 3: Video Demo (Procedure below)

ULTT 3 – Upper Limb Tension Test 3: PROCEDURE:

• Patient is supine , with their side being tested at the edge of the table
• Therapist applies a depressive force to the patient’s affected shoulder
• With therapist’s other hand, hold the patient’s wrist and Abduct their affected humerus to 10°
• Slowly flex patient’s wrist and fingers, then deviate the wrist to the ulnar side
• Therapist fully pronates patient’s forearm then slowly extend their elbow

ULTT 3 – Upper Limb Tension Test 3: POSITIVE SIGN:

  • Recurrence of patient’s shoulder and arm pain.