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  • Writer's pictureRobin R Varghese, PT.

Ober's Test

The Ober's test evaluates a tight, contracted or inflamed Tensor Fasciae Latae (TFL) and Iliotibial band (ITB). The Ober’s test must not be confounded with Noble’s test and the Renne test, two other tests that are commonly used to detect iliotibial band syndrome.


Test Position

  • The patient should be in side-lying with the affected side up.

  • Bottom knee and hip should be flexed to flatten the lumbar curve.

  • Stand behind the patient and firmly stabilize the pelvis/greater trochanter to prevent movement in any direction.

  • Grasp the distal end of the patient’s affected leg with your other hand and flex the leg to a right angle at the knee

Test

  • Extend and abduct the hip joint.

  • Slowly lower the leg toward the table -adduct hip- until motion is restricted.

  • Ensure that the hip does not internally rotate and flex 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 TFL and not accurately test the length

Result

  • 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 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 test is called positive.

Evidence

  • There is a limited number of studies to support the validity of this test. A study by Reese et al shows that the use of an inclinometer to measure hip adduction using both the Ober test and the modified Ober test appears to be a reliable method for the measurement of IT band flexibility, and the technique is quite easy to use. It demonstrated a significant difference in ROM between testing with the affected knee flexed vs. extended, with the reliability of .90 and .91 respectively. The modified Ober test allows a significantly greater hip adduction range of motion than the Ober test, the 2 examination procedures should not be used interchangeably for the measurement of the flexibility of the IT band.

  • But the study findings in 'An Anatomic Investigation of the Ober Test' by Willet GM et al refutes the hypothesis that the ITB plays a role in limiting hip adduction during either version of the Ober test and question the validity of these tests for determining ITB tightness. The findings underscore the influence of the gluteus medius and minimus muscles as well as the hip joint capsule on Ober test findings. The results of this study suggest that the Ober test assesses the tightness of structures proximal to the hip joint, such as the gluteus medius and minimus muscles and the hip joint capsule, rather than the ITB.

KEY RESEARCH

  • The study in Clinical Biomechanics by Gajdosik RL et al showed the hip adduction movement was restricted more with the knee flexed than with the knee extended for both genders (P < 0.009). Thus emphasizing the influence of knee positions and gender on the Ober test for the length of the iliotibial band

  • An exercise developed by the Postural Restoration Institute to recruit hamstrings and abdominal muscles showed a significant increase in passive hip-adduction angles (p<0.01) and a decrease in pain (p<0.01), immediately improve Ober's Test measurements in people with lumbopelvic pain. The study showed hamstring/abdominal activation, rather than iliotibial band stretching, may be an effective intervention for addressing lumbopelvic pain and a positive Ober's Test.

  • The study shows the effect of ITB stretching and Hamstring and Abdominal activation on positive Ober test in individuals with lumbopelvic pain The hamstring and abdominal activation showed a greater reduction in pain and increase in hip adduction ROM as compared to only ITB stretching.


At Valley Healing Hands, we provide the best Physical Therapy treatment for ITB and TFL related conditions. We provide the best atmosphere for out patients with a one on one ratio for the best quality of care needed for them. We assure maximum outcomes and return to regular / sports routine. Our physical therapist are highly qualified and will plan an individualized treatment routine, customized to your specific needs. Our patients are highly satisfied with our services. You can learn about what they have to say about us here and get connected to us here. Our patients love us and you too will!!!!



Recommended video for a better understanding: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A0C0WBw4l4s&t=10s


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