Straight-Leg Test for Evaluating Low Back Pain

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Straight-Leg Test for Evaluating Low Back Pain

Topic Overview

For a straight-leg test for low back pain, you lie on your back with both legs straight. Your health professional raises one of your legs upward, keeping the knee straight.

  • If you have pain down the back of your leg below the knee when your leg is raised, the test is positive (abnormal).
  • If doing this test on the unaffected leg causes pain in the affected leg, it is more likely that you have a herniated disc. This is known as crossover pain.


By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer William M. Green, MD - Emergency Medicine
Primary Medical Reviewer Brian D. O'Brien, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Robert B. Keller, MD - Orthopedics
Last Revised June 8, 2010

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