Abnormal hip physical examination findings in asymptomatic female soccer athletes

Heidi Prather, Devyani Hunt, Monica Rho, Ted Yemm, Kathryn Fong, Robert H. Brophy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Purpose: Examination of the hip provides information regarding risk for pre-arthritic hip disorders, knee injuries, and low back pain. The purpose of this study was to report a hip screening examination of asymptomatic female soccer athletes and to test the hypothesis that these findings vary by competition experience. Methods: Asymptomatic females from a youth soccer club, a college, and a professional team were evaluated. Passive hip range of motion, hip abduction strength, and hip provocative tests were assessed. Data were compared for the grade/middle school, high school, college, and professional athletes. Results: One hundred and seventy-two athletes with a mean age of 16.7 ± 5 years (range 10–30) participated. Professional athletes had less flexion (HF) for both hips (p < 0.0001) and less internal rotation (IR) for the preferred kicking leg (p < 0.05) compared to all other groups. Grade/middle school athletes had more external rotation in both hips as compared to all other groups (p < 0.0001). For the preferred kicking leg, collegiate athletes had less hip abduction strength as compared to other groups (p < 0.01). Positive provocative hip tests were found in 22 % of all players and 36 % of the professionals. In professionals, a positive provocative test was associated with ipsilateral decreased HF (p = 0.04). Conclusion: Asymptomatic elite female soccer athletes with the most competition experience had less bilateral hip flexion and preferred kicking leg IR than less-experienced athletes. Positive provocative hip tests were found in 22 % of athletes. Future studies are needed to show whether these findings link to risk for intra-articular hip or lumbar spine and knee disorders. Level of evidence: III.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2106-2114
Number of pages9
JournalKnee Surgery, Sports Traumatology, Arthroscopy
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 19 2015


  • Anterior cruciate tears
  • Female soccer athletes
  • Hip deformity
  • Hip range of motion
  • Low back pain


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