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01.12.2015 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2015 Open Access

BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 1/2015

A randomised trial into the effect of an isolated hip abductor strengthening programme and a functional motor control programme on knee kinematics and hip muscle strength

BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders > Ausgabe 1/2015
Kathryn Palmer, Clair Hebron, Jonathan M Williams
Wichtige Hinweise

Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Authors’ contributions

KP and JMW contributed to the conception and design of the study. KP completed all data collection. KP and JMW completed the data processing. KP, JMW and CH were involved in the data analysis and drafted and amended the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.



Dynamic knee valgus and internal femoral rotation are proposed to be contributory risk factors for patellofemoral pain and anterior cruciate ligament injuries. Multimodal interventions including hip abductor strengthening or functional motor control programmes have a positive impact of pain, however their effect on knee kinematics and muscle strength is less clear. The aim of this study was to examine the effect of isolated hip abductor strengthening and a functional motor control exercise on knee kinematics and hip abductor strength.


This prospective, randomised, repeated measures design included 29 asymptomatic volunteers presenting with increase knee valgus and femoral internal rotation. Participants completed either isolated hip abductor strengthening or a functional motor control exercise for 5 weeks. Knee kinematics were measured using inertial sensors during 2 functional activities and hip abductor strength measured using a load cell during isometric hip abduction.


There were no significant differences in dynamic knee valgus and internal rotation following the isolated hip abductor or functional motor control intervention, and no significant differences between the groups for knee angles. Despite this, the actual magnitude of reduction in valgus was 10° and 5° for the functional motor control group and strengthening group respectively. The actual magnitude of reduction in internal rotation was 9° and 18° for the functional motor control group and strengthening group respectively. Therefore there was a tendency towards clinically significant improvements in knee kinematics in both exercise groups. A statistically significant improvement in hip abductor strength was evident for the functional motor control group (27% increase; p = 0.008) and strengthening group (35% increase; p = 0.009) with no significant difference between the groups being identified (p = 0.475).


Isolated hip strengthening and functional motor control exercises resulted in non-statistically significant changes in knee kinematics, however there was a clear trend towards clinically meaningful reductions in valgus and internal rotation. Both groups demonstrated similar significant gains in hip abductor strength suggesting either approach could be used to strengthen the hip abductors.
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