Special Tests: What’s Causing My Hip Pain?

Hip pain can be common, but let’s get to the bottom of it! The hip joint is a ball and socket joint. It’s similar to the should, but more stable. Just like the shoulder, the hip has a number of different common injuries you might have to deal with based on the combination of bone, muscle, ligament, or nerves involved in the injury. Special tests can be performed on the hip to identify the source of pain! 

Hip Special Tests

Thomas test:

Thomas Test | somepomed.org

  • Purpose: to assess for tight hip flexors
  • Position: start by laying on your back with both legs straight
  • Technique: while trying to keep your low back on the ground/mat bend to bring the unaffected leg towards your stomach as much as possible (using your hands)
  • What does it tell us: if your straightened leg or back comes off the ground/mat it indicates tight hip flexors

FABER test:


  • Purpose: to assess for hip, sacroiliac/or labral pathology
  • Position: lay on your back and bend the affected leg into a figure 4, resting your involved ankle right about the knee of the uninvolved leg.
  • Technique: push the bend knee straight down towards the ground, putting the hip on stretch
  • What does it tell us: hip pain due to osteoarthritis, osteophytes, intracapsular fracture or low back pain due to the sacroiliac joint. Labral pathology may be indicated if the knee is >4cm from the surface. 

Ober test:

Ober Test | somepomed.org

  • Purpose: to assess tensor fascia latae and iliotibial band (IT band) contractures
  • Position: sideling with both hips and knees bent
  • Technique: with the pelvis stabilized, passively move the upper leg into an arc motion. (Bring the leg straight up then back, but keep the hip in the same place so only the leg moves. Then allow the leg to drop down behind the untested leg. 
  • What does it tell us: if the upper leg remains off the treatment table without being held the test is positive for tensor fascia latae or IT band contracture

Scour test:

  • Purpose: to assess for labral tear
  • Position: laying on your back with hips and knees both bent to 90 degrees so feet are off the ground
  • Technique: internally rotate/externally rotate the hip with abduction/adduction while applying force down the femur
  • What does it tell us: clicking, grinding or pain due is positive for osteoarthritis or labrum tear

Impingement test:

  • Purpose: to assess for labral tears and impingement at the hip
  • Position: laying on your back
  • Technique: simultaneously bend the hip as much as possible (flex), bring the hip towards the other leg (adduct) and externally rotate the hip end range
  • What does it tell us: reproduction of pain signifies positive test 

Contact Us!

Got hip pain? BeneFIT PT wants to help. So if you feel like something is wrong or you are more sore than you should be just give us a call to get that free medical screening scheduled.  For Chester call: (908)-879-5700, Bridgewater: (908)-203-5200.