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Am J Phys Med Rehabil. 2001 Aug;80(8):572-7.

Relationship between hip muscle imbalance and occurrence of low back pain in collegiate athletes: a prospective study.

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Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, UMDNJ, New Jersey Medical School, Newark 07103, USA.



To assess whether athletes with strength imbalance of the hip musculature would be more likely to require treatment for low back pain (LBP) over the ensuing year.


The study population included 163 National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I college athletes (100 males and 63 females) undergoing preparticipation sports physicals. Institutional review board approval was obtained to acquire and analyze hip muscle strength data. A commercially available dynamometer (Chatillon, Lexington, KY) incorporated into a specially designed anchoring station was used for testing the hip extensors and abductors. The maximum force generated for the hip abductors and extensors was used to calculate a percentage difference between the right and left hip extensors and abductors. Treatment of athletes by the athletic trainers for LBP unrelated to blunt trauma over the ensuing year was recorded.


Of all athletes, 5 of 63 females and 8 of 100 males required treatment for LBP. Logistic regression analysis indicated that for female athletes, the percentage difference between the right and left hip extensors was predictive of whether treatment for LBP was required over the ensuing year (P = 0.05). There was no significant association noted for the percentage difference between the right and left hip abductors in females and for the percentage difference between both the right and left hip abductors and right and left hip extensors in males requiring treatment for LBP.


These data support our results from our previous cohort study, adding validity to the concept of hip muscle imbalance being associated with LBP occurrence in female athletes. This research further supports the need for the assessment and treatment of hip muscle imbalance in individuals with LBP.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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