Ober’s Test – Orthopedic Examination of the Hip

Ober’s Test is commonly used in orthopedic examinations of the hip to test for tightness in the Tensor Fascia Lata (TFL) or contractures in the iliotibial band (IT Band) that limit hip adduction. It is commonly used when attempting to diagnose Iliotibial Band Syndrome.

Involved Structures

  • tensor fascia lata
  • iliotibial band
  • gluteus medius
  • gluteus minimus
  • hip joint capsule

Starting Position

The test is performed with the patient in side-lying with the bottom leg flexed at the hip and knee and the upper, affected leg, in neutral at the hip and extended at the knee. The test may also be performed with the knee in a flexed position.

Test Movement

The examiner, standing behind the patient, passively abducts the patient’s upper leg slightly at the hip and then extends the upper leg at the hip while stabilizing the upper iliac crest with the other hand. With the upper hip in extension, the examiner slowly allows the upper leg to lower until the examiner is no longer supporting the weight of the upper leg.

This image displays the tensor fasciae latae and other muscles of the hip, as well as the iliotibial band. (By Beth ohara – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link)

Positive Test

This test is considered positive if the upper leg remains in abduction/does not go into adduction past midline after the examiner stops supporting the weight of the leg. The patient may also report lateral knee pain in a positive test.

Accuracy of Test

Ober’s test is questionable in its accuracy and in its ability to test what it intends to test. There are no studies that support its validity.

An Anatomic Investigation of the Ober Test

Video Demonstration

video source: Physiotutors

>> Return to the list of Common Tests in Orthopaedic Examination of the Hip

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1 thought on “Ober’s Test – Orthopedic Examination of the Hip”

  1. Avatar for Physical Therapy Web

    Thank you for this review of the Ober test.
    Just FYI, the picture you have selected to depict the TFL/IT band anatomy is anatomically inaccurate. The IT band does not insert onto the lateral femoral condyle. Rather, it inserts onto Gerdy’s tubercle on the anterolateral tibia. You may want to change this picture for more accurate representation of the muscle/band you are discussing on this page.

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