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The present study was conducted to examine passive hip range of motion (PROM) for patients with hip dysfunction, including pain, with or without hip osteoarthritis, to arrange and describe PROM patterns and to count the number of hips presenting Cyriax's and Kaltenborn's capsular patterns.The study is theory-testing, observational, cross-sectional and descriptive. One hundred and sixtyeight patients (mean age 61.7 years, range 36–90 years), 50 with no hip osteoarthritis, 77 with unilateral hip osteoarthritis and 41 with bilateral osteoarthritis, based on radiological reports, were consecutively recruited by physicians in primary health care and orthopaedic settings. One examiner tested PROM bilaterally, by use of a goniometer and a standardized protocol. PROM limitations were calculated by comparing norms from the symptom-free hips (n = 100) in the study, from Kaltenborn and, in patients with unilateral hip osteoarthritis (n = 77), from the non-osteoarthritis hip. The limitations were arranged by size in PROM patterns. The patterns and the numbers of hips with patterns corresponding to Cyriax's and Kaltenborn's capsular patterns were counted.Between 68 and 138 PROM patterns were identified by use of different PROM norms for defining limitations. Few osteoarthritis hips showed Cyriax's capsular pattern and none Kaltenborn's capsular pattern.The concept of capsular pattern for the hip should be re-examined. No support was found in the present study for its existence. It is impossible to anticipate radiological evidence of hip osteoarthritis from the multitude of PROM patterns. Every patient should be regarded as unique.