- The Ober Test is used to test for iliotibial band syndrome (Tight ITB) or for tensor fascia latae (TFL) muscle contraction or inflammation.
- The patient is in lateral position with the affected hip upward.
- unaffected knee and hip should be flexed to flatten the lumbar spine curve.
- The examiner Stands behind the patient and firmly stabilizes the pelvis/greater trochanter with the left hand to prevent movement of the pelvis.
- Then Grasps the distal end of the patient’s affected leg with his right hand and flexes the leg to a right angle at the knee joint.
- Extends and abduct the hip joint.
- Slowly lowers the leg toward the table -adducting the hip- until motion is restricted.
- Make sure that the hip does not internally rotated and flexed during the test, and the pelvis must be stabilized, as allowing the thigh to drop in flexion and internal rotation would ‘give in’ to the tight tensor fascia latae TFL and not accurately test the length.
When to consider Ober test positive or negative?
- If the ITB is normal, the leg will adduct with the thigh dropping down slightly below the horizontal and the patient won’t experience any pain; in this case, the ober test is called negative.
- If the ITB is tight, the leg would remain in the abducted position and the patient would experience lateral knee pain, in this case, the ober test is called positive.
- A contracted, nonelastic quadriceps muscle and shortened ham string muscles cause an increase in the retropatellar pressure. Shortening of the iliotibial tract can lead to chronic pain on the lateral side and over its connection to the lateral patellar retinaculum as well as leading to functional disturbances in the femoro-patellar joint.
- Stretching the iliotibial tract often helps in lateral displacement of the patella with excessive lateral pressure.
- Even though the tension in the iliotibial tract is greater when the knee is extended, Ober described the test with flexed knee.
- In addition, when the knee is bent, the femoral nerve may be stretched during the course of the test.
- If neurologic symptoms occur, such as paresthesias and/or radiating pain, then there is suspicion of L3–L4 nerve root irritation.
- Pain over the greater trochanter suggests trochanteric tendinopathy or bursitis.
- Campbel's Operative Orthopaedics 13th Book
- Clinical Tests for the Musculoskeletal 3rd Ed. Book