What is the figure 4 test for hip pain?

Answered by Phillip Nicastro

The Figure Four Test is a commonly used test to assess hip pain and evaluate the range of motion in the hip joint. It is also known as Patrick’s Test or the Faber Test. This test can help identify potential issues or injuries in the hip, such as hip impingement, labral tears, or hip joint dysfunction.

To perform the Figure Four Test, the patient is positioned in a supine (lying on their back) position. The examiner then crosses the patient’s test leg over the other leg, above the knee, forming a “figure four” shape. The examiner gently applies downward pressure on the test leg, pressing it towards the table or bed.

During this test, the patient may experience pain or discomfort in the hip joint, groin, or lower back region. The test is considered positive if pain is reproduced or exacerbated in these areas. The intensity and location of the pain can provide valuable information about the underlying cause of the hip pain.

The Figure Four Test primarily assesses the range of motion and flexibility of the hip joint. It specifically evaluates the ability of the hip to flex, abduct, and externally rotate. These movements are important for various activities, such as walking, running, and sitting cross-legged.

A positive Figure Four Test result may indicate several potential conditions:

1. Hip Impingement: This occurs when there is abnormal contact between the bones of the hip joint, leading to increased friction, pain, and limited range of motion.

2. Labral Tear: The hip labrum is a ring of cartilage that lines the hip socket. A tear in the labrum can cause pain and instability in the hip joint.

3. Hip Joint Dysfunction: This refers to a general malfunction or imbalance in the hip joint, often resulting from muscular imbalances, compensatory movement patterns, or joint stiffness.

It is important to note that the Figure Four Test alone is not sufficient for diagnosing specific hip conditions. It is typically used in combination with other clinical tests, imaging studies (such as X-rays or MRI), and a thorough physical examination to arrive at an accurate diagnosis.

In my personal experience as a healthcare provider, I have found the Figure Four Test to be a useful screening tool for evaluating hip pain. It helps me gather valuable information about the patient’s symptoms, range of motion, and potential underlying issues. However, it is essential to interpret the test results in conjunction with the patient’s history, physical examination findings, and other diagnostic tests to formulate an appropriate treatment plan.

The Figure Four Test is a valuable assessment tool for hip pain, especially in evaluating the range of motion and flexibility of the hip joint. It can provide important clues about potential underlying conditions such as hip impingement, labral tears, or hip joint dysfunction. However, it should be used as part of a comprehensive evaluation and in conjunction with other diagnostic methods for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan.