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Hip examination and referrals

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Hip examination

Barlow’s Test

  • Adduct the hip, then apply a downward pressure over the knee with your thumb.
  • If the hip is unstable, the femoral head will slip out of the acetabulum, producing the palpable sensation of the hip dislocating.
  • If the hip is dislocatable, then Barlow’s test is positive.

Ortolani’s Test

  • Used to confirm the hip dislocation.
  • Flex the hips and knees to 90 degree, then apply an anterior pressure over the greater trochanter and gently adduct the leg with your thumbs.
  • If the hip was dislocated, a distinctive clunk will be heard as the hip relocates. This would be Ortalani’s test positive.

Figure 1. Barlow’s and Ortolani’s test – Adapted from

Youtube: How to test for newborn hip dysplasia

Hip Ultrasound Scan Referrals


Editorial Information

Last reviewed: 10 June 2020

Next review: 27 July 2021

Author(s): Lesley Jackson; Kirsteen McSween