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Factors associated with hip joint rotation in former elite athletes
  1. Jyrki A Kettunen1,
  2. Urho M Kujala1,
  3. Heli Räty1,
  4. Tapio Videman2,
  5. Seppo Sarna3,
  6. Olli Impivaara4,
  7. Seppo Koskinen5
  1. 1Unit for Sports and Exercise Medicine, Institute of Biomedicine, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
  2. 2Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada
  3. 3Department of Public Health, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
  4. 4Research and Development Centre, Social Insurance Institution, Turku, Finland
  5. 5Department of Diagnostic Radiology, Turku University Hospital, University of Turku, Turku, Finland
  1. Correspondence to J Kettunen, Unit for Sports and Exercise Medicine, Mannerheimintie 17, FIN-00250 Helsinki, Finland.


Objectives—To study factors associated with passive hip rotation range of motion (ROM) in former elite male athletes.

Methods—Athletes were interviewed about hip pain, disability, lifetime occupational loading, and athletic training. The passive hip rotation was measured with a Myrin inclinometer in 117 former elite male long distance runners, soccer players, weight lifters, and shooters aged 45–68 years. Magnetic resonance imaging was used to detect hip osteoarthritis.

Results—There were no differences in passive hip rotation ROM between the four athlete groups nor between diverging lifetime loading patterns associated with occupational or athletic activities. Among the subjects without hip osteoarthritis, hip pain, and hip disability according to a stepwise linear regression analysis, the only factor that was associated with the passive hip rotation ROM was body mass index (BMI), explaining about 21% of its variation. Subjects with high BMI had lower passive hip rotation ROM than those with low BMI. There was no right-left difference in the mean passive hip rotation ROM in subjects either with or without hip osteoarthritis as determined by magnetic resonance imaging. Nevertheless, hip rotation ROM was clearly reduced in a few hips with severe caput deformity.

Conclusions—Long term loading appears to have no association with passive hip rotation ROM. On the other hand, the hip rotation value was lower in subjects with high BMI than in those with low BMI. A clear right-left difference in hip rotation was found only in those subjects who, according to our magnetic resonance imaging criteria, had severe hip osteoarthritis. These findings should be taken into account when hip rotation ROM is used in the clinical assessment of hip joints.

  • hip joint rotation
  • range of motion
  • osteoarthritis
  • athletic training
  • body mass index
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