Knee Orthopaedic Test: Ely's Test

orthopaedic tests May 27, 2023

Ely's test is a physical examination technique used to evaluate the tightness of the quadriceps muscle, particularly the rectus femoris, which is located in the front of the thigh. Here is a step-by-step procedure for performing Ely's test:

  1. Ask the patient to lie prone (face down) on an examination table with their legs hanging freely off the edge.
  2. Flex the patient's knee and bring their heel towards their buttock.
  3. While holding the patient's hip to prevent movement, passively extend the patient's knee.
  4. Observe the patient's hip for any movement, such as lifting or tilting, which would indicate tightness in the rectus femoris muscle.
  5. Repeat the test on the other side for comparison.



  1. Magee DJ. Orthopedic Physical Assessment. 6th ed. St. Louis, MO: Elsevier Saunders; 2014.
  2. Kendall FP, McCreary EK, Provance PG, et al. Muscles: Testing and Function with Posture and Pain. 5th ed. Baltimore, MD: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2005.
  3. Prather H, Hunt D, Glisson R. Ely's test: a review of the literature. Int J Sports Phys Ther. 2013;8(4):537-542.
  4. Hegedus EJ, Cook C, Hasselblad V, et al. Physical examination tests for assessing a torn meniscus in the knee: a systematic review with meta-analysis. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 2007;37(9):541-550.
  5. Gilliaux M, Bruls O, Demoulin C, et al. Ely's test: assessment of rectus femoris muscle tightness in patients with cerebral palsy. Dev Med Child Neurol. 2012;54(11):1039-1043.

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