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Barlow's & Ortolani's Tests

Barlow's Test  

  • identifies unstable hip that lies in the reduced position but can be passively dislocated (and hence unstable)
  • less than 2% of infants will have a positive Barlow test
  • 90% will normalise with no treatment after 9 weeks
  • Technique:  
    • hips are examined one at a time
    • hip is flexed, & thigh adducted, while pushing posteriorly in line of the shaft of femur, causing femoral head to dislocate posteriorly from acetabulum
    • dislocation is palpable as femoral head slips out of acetabulum
    • diagnosis is confirmed with Ortolani's test

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