The kidneys are usually classed as fixed organs. They, however, are not fixed but possess normally quite a range of motion. This varies from 2 to 4 cms. in a longitudinal direction and corresponds to the rise and fall of the diaphragm during respiration. As a rule the normal kidney can not be palpated through the intact body walls in men, but in women the right can be distinctly felt in a majority of the cases and the left in a smaller proportion. A kidney may often be easily palpated by one with much practice when another with less experience would fail to perceive it.
In palpating a kidney the patient, with all clothing about the body removed, should lie on the side opposite the organ sought with the head and shoulders slightly higher than the hips and the thighs gently flexed. Standing at the back of the patient the
HARRIS ML. MOVABLE KIDNEY—ITS CAUSE AND TREATMENT.. JAMA. 1901;XXXVI(22):1527–1536. doi:10.1001/jama.1901.52470220001001