The Pattern and Technique in the Clinical Evaluation of the Adult Hip: The Common Physical Examination Tests of Hip Specialists

Hal D. Martin, Bryan T. Kelly, Michael Leunig, Marc J. Philippon, John C. Clohisy, Rob Roy L. Martin, Jon K. Sekiya, Ricardo Pietrobon, Nicholas G. Mohtadi, Thomas G. Sampson, Marc R. Safran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

154 Scopus citations


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to systematically evaluate the technique and tests used in the physical examination of the adult hip performed by multiple clinicians who regularly treat patients with hip problems and identify common physical examination patterns. Methods: The subjects included 5 men and 6 women with a mean age (±SD) of 29.8 ± 9.4 years. They underwent physical examination of the hip by 6 hip specialists with a strong interest in hip-related problems. All examiners were blind to patient radiographs and diagnoses. Patient examinations were video recorded and reviewed. Results: It was determined that 18 tests were most frequently performed (≥40%) by the examiners, 3 standing, 11 supine, 3 lateral, and 1 prone. Of the most frequently performed tests, 10 were performed more than 50% of the time. The tests performed in the supine position were as follows: flexion range of motion (ROM) (percentage of use, 98%), flexion internal rotation ROM (98%), flexion external rotation ROM (86%), passive supine rotation test (76%), flexion/adduction/internal rotation test (70%), straight leg raise against resistance test (61%), and flexion/abduction/external rotation test (52%). The tests performed in the standing position were the gait test (86%) and the single-leg stance phase test (77%). The 1 test in the prone position was the femoral anteversion test (58%). Conclusions: There are variations in the testing that hip specialists perform to examine and evaluate their patients, but there is enough commonality to form the basis to recommend a battery of physical examination maneuvers that should be considered for use in evaluating the hip. Clinical Relevance: Patients presenting with groin, abdominal, back, and/or hip pain need to have a basic examination to ensure that the hip is not overlooked. A comprehensive physical examination of the hip will benefit the patient and the physician and serve as the foundation for future multicenter clinical studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)161-172
Number of pages12
JournalArthroscopy - Journal of Arthroscopic and Related Surgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2010


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