Does gender influence neuromotor control of the knee and hip?

J Electromyogr Kinesiol. 2009 Apr;19(2):276-82. doi: 10.1016/j.jelekin.2007.07.009. Epub 2007 Sep 29.


Patellofemoral pain (PFP) is a common condition that occurs more frequently in females. Anatomical, hormonal and neuromuscular factors have been proposed to contribute to the increased incidence of PFP in females, with neuromuscular factors considered to be of particular importance. This cross-sectional study aimed to evaluate differences in the neuromotor control of the knee and hip muscles between genders and to investigate whether clinical measures of hip rotation range and strength were associated with EMG measures of hip and thigh motor control. Twenty-nine (16 female and 13 male) asymptomatic participants completed a visual choice reaction-time stair stepping task. EMG activity was recorded from vastus medialis oblique, vastus lateralis, anterior and posterior gluteus medius muscles. In addition hip rotation range of motion and hip external rotation, abduction and trunk strength were assessed. There were no differences in the timing or peak of EMG activation of the vasti or gluteus medius muscle between genders during the stepping task. There were however significant associations between EMG measures of motor control of the vasti and hip strength in both females and males. These findings are suggestive of a link between hip muscle control and vasti neuromotor control.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Feedback / physiology
  • Female
  • Hip Joint / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Knee Joint / physiology*
  • Male
  • Motor Skills / physiology*
  • Movement / physiology*
  • Range of Motion, Articular / physiology*
  • Reaction Time / physiology*
  • Sex Factors