FABER (flexion, abduction, and external rotation) test

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This is a test for evidence of hip arthritis. In this manoeuvre:

  • the patient's pelvis is stabilized by placing a hand on the iliac crest (the side furthest from the examiner).
  • the patient flexes his hip joint (the hip joint nearest to the examiner)
  • the patient's flexed hip is slowly abducted

If there is early hip osteoarthritis then the abduction of the flexed hip will be restricted and painful. An alternative manoeuvre is to internally rotate the hip with both hip and knee flexed to 90 degrees - internal rotation of the hip joint is the first restriction of movement to occur in hip disease (1).

The FABER test can differentiate sacroiliac joint pathology from hip problems (2).

Reference:

  • Dieppe P. Management of hip osteoarthritis, BMJ 1995;311: 853-7.
  • Grumet RC et al. Lateral Hip Pain in an Athletic Population: Differential Diagnosis and Treatment Options. Sports Health 2010; 3(2): 191-6.

Last reviewed 01/2018

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