Thomas test: Tests range of motion at the hip joint and the length of hip flexors, iliotibial band, rectus femoris and rotators.
The test starts with the patient sitting (thighs half off the table) at the edge of the table unsupported and without touching the ground. The examiner helps the patient to lie on his back and flexing one knee to the chest. The patient is asked to squeeze the leg to his chest and hold the position. Attention to several factors is important to avoid testing mistakes: sacrum is flat on the table and the free leg is relaxed.
The normal pattern is thigh touching the treatment table and the knee is in approximately 80° neutral position.
Several faulty movements can be detected: hip flexor tightness when the thigh do not touch the table, rectus femoris tightness if the knee has an angle smaller than 80°, iliotibial band/tensor fascia latae tightness when the leg is slightly abducted and patella faces laterally, sartorius tightness when the hip is flexed, abducted and externally rotated and the knee is flexed (Kendall et al, 1993).