Effects of hip and trunk muscle strengthening on hip function and lower limb kinematics during step-down task

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Abstract

Background

Strengthening of the hip and trunk muscles has the potential to change lower limb kinematic patterns, such as excessive hip medial rotation and adduction during weight-bearing tasks. This study aimed to investigate the effect of hip and trunk muscles strengthening on hip muscle performance, hip passive properties, and lower limb kinematics during step-down task in women.

Methods

Thirty-four young women who demonstrated dynamic knee valgus during step-down were divided into two groups. The experimental group underwent three weekly sessions of strengthening exercises for eight weeks, and the control group continued their usual activities. The following evaluations were carried out: (a) isokinetic maximum concentric and eccentric work of hip lateral rotators, (b) isokinetic hip passive torque of lateral rotation and resting transverse plane position, and (c) three-dimensional kinematics of the lower limb during step-down.

Findings

The strengthening program increased concentric (P < 0.001) and eccentric (P < 0.001) work of hip lateral rotators, and changed hip resting position toward lateral rotation (P < 0.001). The intervention did not significantly change hip passive torque (P = 0.089, main effect). The program reduced hip (P = 0.002), thigh (P = 0.024) and shank (P = 0.005) adduction during step-down task. Hip, thigh and knee kinematics in transverse plane and foot kinematics in frontal plane did not significantly modify after intervention (P ≥ 0.069, main effect).

Interpretation

Hip and trunk strengthening reduced lower limb adduction during step-down. The changes in hip maximum work and resting position may have contributed to the observed kinematic effects.

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