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RESEARCH CORNER: KNEE PAIN AND HIP STRENGTH

A physical therapist works with a patient to reduce knee pain and increase hip strength
Patient and therapist working on knees

Knee pain, specifically patellofemoral joint pain (PFP), is one of the most common orthopedic complaints among adolescents and young adults. Female athletes have been reported to be significantly more likely to experience PFP. There are multiple factors that attribute to PFP. Here is an interesting contributor reported by researchers in The Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy.

Hip Abduction and External Rotation strength of 15 females (mean age of 16) with knee pain were compared to 15 age-matched females without knee pain.

The results found that subjects with knee pain demonstrated 26% less hip abduction strength and 36% less hip external rotation strength compared to the control group. Weakness in these areas can lead to increased forces at the knee that affect biomechanics and thus contribute to knee pain.

Take Home Message: Don’t forget to strengthen your hips to avoid or help get rid of knee pain!

Check out the entire study:
Ireland M, Willson J, Ballantyne B, McClay Davis I. Hip Strength in Females With and Without Patellofemoral Pain. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 2003;33:671-676.