Question:What is a positive Hornblower's sign? My husband came back from the doctor's saying this is what is wrong with his shoulder.
Answer:The hornblower's sign is the patient's inability to outwardly rotate the shoulder. This is the position a hornblower would hold his or her arm to get the horn to the lips. It's a sign that one of the muscles to the shoulder (the teres minor) is torn.
The hornblower's test is a very sensitive test. If it's positive, then the surgeon knows the teres minor cannot be repaired with a standard operation. A tendon transfer may be needed.
A long rehab program is needed after tendon transfer. Muscle reeducation is required for a good result. If the patient is unable to cooperate or stick with it long enough, then nonoperative treatment may be the best choice.
A physical therapist will work with your husband to gain control of his symptoms. Pain, loss of motion, and decreased function are common problems. Once the pain is under control, then a strengthening program can begin.David M. Dines, MD, et al. Irreparable Rotator Cuff Tears: What to Do and When to Do It; The Surgeon's Dilemma. In The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery. October 2006. Vol. 88-A. No. 10. Pp. 2294-2302.
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