Patellofemoral pain subjects exhibit decreased passive hip range of motion compared to controls.

Authors: Roach SM, San Juan JG, Suprak DN, Lyda M, Boydston C

Patellofemoral pain is a common condition without a clear mechanism for its presentation. Recently significant focus has been placed on the hip and its potential role in patellofemoral pain (PFP). The majority of the research to date has examined hip strength and neuromuscular control. Less attention has been paid to hip mobility and its potential role in subjects with PFP.  The purpose of this study was to compare passive hip range of motion (ROM) of hip extension and hip internal and external rotation in subjects with PFP and healthy control subjects.   The hypothesis was that subjects with PFP would present with less total hip ROM and greater asymmetry than controls.  The authors determined that there was a statistically significant difference (p<0.001) in hip passive extension (as measured using the Thomas Test) between the control group and the PFP group bilaterally. Mean hip extension for the control group was 6.8° bilaterally.  For the PFP group, the mean hip extension was -4.0° on the left and -4.3° on the right.  This corresponds to a difference of means between groups of 10.8° on the left and 11.1° on the right with a standard error of 2.1°. There was no statistically significant difference (p>0.05) in either hip IR or ER ROM or total rotation between or within groups. Therefore, the results of this study indicate that a significant difference in hip extension ROM exists in subjects with PFP compared to controls. These findings suggest that passive hip extension is a variable that should be included within the clinical examination of people with PFP.  It may be valuable to consider hip mobility restrictions and their potential impact on assessment of strength and planned intervention in subjects with PFP. 

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