Hip Abductor Muscle Volume and Strength Differences Between Women With Chronic Hip Joint Pain and Asymptomatic Controls

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Abstract

STUDY DESIGN:

Secondary analysis, cross-sectional study.

BACKGROUND:

Chronic hip joint pain (CHJP) can lead to limitations in activity participation, but the musculoskeletal factors associated with the condition are relatively unknown. Understanding the factors associated with CHJP may help develop rehabilitation strategies to improve quality of life of individuals with long-term hip pain.

OBJECTIVES:

To compare measures of hip abductor muscle volume and hip abductor muscle strength between women with CHJP and asymptomatic controls.

METHODS:

Thirty women, 15 with CHJP and 15 matched asymptomatic controls (age range, 18–40 years), participated in this study. Magnetic resonance imaging was used to determine the volume of the primary hip abductor muscles, consisting of the gluteus medius, gluteus minimus, a small portion of the gluteus maximus, and the tensor fascia latae, within a defined region of interest. Break tests were performed using a handheld dynamometer to assess hip abductor strength. During the strength test, the participant was positioned in sidelying with the involved hip in 15° of abduction. Independent-samples t tests were used to compare muscle volume and strength values between those with CHJP and asymptomatic controls.

RESULTS:

Compared to asymptomatic controls, women with CHJP demonstrated significantly increased gluteal muscle volume (228 ± 40 cm3 versus 199 ± 29 cm3, P = .032), but decreased hip abductor strength (74.6 ± 16.8 Nm versus 93.6 ± 20.2 Nm, P = .009). There were no significant differences in tensor fascia lata muscle volume between the 2 groups (P = .640).

CONCLUSION:

Women with CHJP appear to have larger gluteal muscle volume, but decreased hip abductor strength, compared to asymptomatic controls.

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