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The Relationship Between Lower Extremity Injury, Low Back Pain, and Hip Muscle Strength in Male and Female Collegiate Athletes

Nadler, Scott F. DO*; Malanga, Gerard A. MD*†; DePrince, Melissa MS*; Stitik, Todd P. MD*; Feinberg, Joseph H. MD*†‡

Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine: April 2000 - Volume 10 - Issue 2 - p 89-97
Clinical Investigations

Objective To determine the relationship of previous lower extremity (LE) injury and/or low back pain (LBP) on hip abduction and extension strength.

Design Cohort study of college athletes at time of preparticipation screening physical.

Setting An NCAA Division I college.

Participants Two hundred ten college athletes (140 males and 70 females) from an NCAA Division I school.

Main Outcome Measures Mean and maximal hip abduction and extension strengths were recorded using a specially designed dynamometer anchoring station. Previous injury to the LE or LBP in the past year was recorded via personal interview at the time of screening and verified by review of previous injury records.

Results A significant difference in side-to-side symmetry of maximum hip extension strength was observed in female subjects who reported LE injury or LBP as compared to those who did not. Side-to-side difference in hip strength, however, did not differ between male athletes, regardless of reported LE injury or LBP status.

Conclusion Female athletes appear to have a differing response of the proximal hip musculature to LE injury or LBP, as compared with their male counterparts. Research is under way to further validate these findings.

Clinical Relevance This study provides some reasoning to support the screening of hip strength during the preparticipation physical, as it may be important in the prevention of LE injury and LBP in collegiate athletes.

*Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey–New Jersey Medical School, Newark; †Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation, West Orange, New Jersey; and ‡Hospital for Special Surgery, New York, New York, U.S.A.

Received October 22, 1999; accepted February 28, 2000.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Scott Nadler, DO, Department of PM&R, UMDNJ–NJ Medical School, 90 Bergen Street, Suite 3100, Newark, NJ 07103, U.S.A.

© 2000 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.