Hip Strength Recovery After Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction

Amelia S. Bruce Leicht, Xavier D. Thompson, Mandeep Kaur, Haleigh M. Hopper, Rachel L. Stolzenfeld, Alexander J. Wahl, Madison D. Sroufe, Brian C. Werner, David R. Diduch, F. Winston Gwathmey, Stephen F. Brockmeier, Mark D. Miller, Joe M. Hart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Return-to-play (RTP) assessment after anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction (ACLR) rarely includes hip strength. Hypothesis: It was hypothesized that (1) patients after ACLR will have weaker hip abduction (AB) and adduction (AD) strength compared with the contralateral limb, with larger deficits in women, (2) there will be a correlation between hip and thigh strength ratios and patient-reported outcomes (PROs), and (3) hip AB and AD strength will improve over time. Study Design: Descriptive laboratory study. Methods: Included were 140 patients (74 male, 66 female; mean age, 24.16 ± 10.82 years) who underwent RTP assessment at 6.1 ± 1.6 months after ACLR; 86 patients underwent a second assessment at 8.2 ± 2.2 months. Hip AB/AD and knee extension/flexion isometric strength were measured and normalized to body mass, and PRO scores were collected. Strength ratios (hip vs thigh), limb differences (injured vs uninjured), sex-based differences, and relationships between strength ratios and PROs were determined. Results: Hip AB strength was weaker on the ACLR limb (ACLR vs contralateral: 1.85 ± 0.49 vs 1.89 ± 0.48 N·m/kg; P <.001) and hip AD torque was stronger (ACLR vs contralateral: 1.80 ± 0.51 vs 1.76 ± 0.52 N·m/kg; P =.004), with no sex-by-limb interaction found. Lower hip-to-thigh strength ratios of the ACLR limb were correlated with higher PRO scores (r = −0.17 to −0.25). Over time, hip AB strength increased in the ACLR limb more than in the contralateral limb (P =.01); however, the ACLR limb remained weaker in hip AB at visit 2 (ACLR vs contralateral: 1.88 ± 0.46 vs 1.91 ± 0.45 N·m/kg; P =.04). In both limbs, hip AD strength was greater at visit 2 than visit 1 (ACLR: 1.82 ± 0.48 vs 1.70 ± 0.48 N·m/kg; contralateral: 1.76 ± 0.47 vs 1.67 ± 0.47 N·m/kg; P <.01 for both). Conclusion: The ACLR limb had weaker hip AB and stronger AD compared with the contralateral limb at initial assessment. Hip muscle strength recovery was not influenced by sex. Hip strength and symmetry improved over the course of rehabilitation. Although strength differences across limbs were minor, the clinical importance of these differences is still unknown. Clinical Relevance: The evidence provided highlights the need to integrate hip strength into RTP assessments to identify hip strength deficits that may increase reinjury or lead to poor long-term outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalOrthopaedic Journal of Sports Medicine
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • injury
  • muscle recovery
  • return to play
  • strength testing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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