In vitro analysis of peri-articular soft tissues passive constraining effect on hip kinematics and joint stability

Knee Surg Sports Traumatol Arthrosc. 2013 Jul;21(7):1655-63. doi: 10.1007/s00167-012-2091-6. Epub 2012 Jun 30.


Purpose: Aim of the study is to assess the contribution of peri-articular soft tissues to hip joint kinematics and their influence on hip stability.

Methods: Four hemi-corpse specimens (3 males, average age 72 years) were studied using a custom navigation system. Hip kinematics (femoral head motion relative to the acetabulum and joint range of motion) were evaluated with the hip manually positioned in 36 different positions with (I) soft tissues intact, (II) after removal of the skin and muscles and (III) after partial capsulectomy. Each position was repeated 3 times in each state.

Results: Excellent interclass correlation for each test was determined (ICC range, 0.84-0.96). Femoral head anatomical centre displacement relative to the acetabulum occurred in all 3 planes, even with all the soft tissue intact (average, 3.3 ± 2.8 mm lateral translation; 1.4 ± 1.8 mm posterior translation and 0.3 ± 1.5 mm distally). These translations increased as more soft tissue was removed, except medial-lateral displacement, with an average 4.6 ± 2.9 mm lateral translation, 0.7 ± 1.3 mm posterior translation and 1.5 ± 1.9 mm distal translation when partial capsulectomy was performed. Range of motion increased in all 3 planes with increasing removal of the soft tissues.

Conclusions: This study showed that femoral head anatomical centre displacement within the acetabulum occurs and increases with increasing removal of peri-articular soft tissues, confirming their influence on hip stability. Hip kinematics was also influenced by peri-articular soft tissues; specifically range of motion increases with increasing removal of those tissues. From clinicians' point of view, they have therefore to consider the influence of their surgeries on peri-articular soft tissues, since excessive translations may promote hip arthritis.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Cadaver
  • Female
  • Femur Head / physiopathology
  • Hip Joint / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Joint Instability / physiopathology*
  • Male
  • Range of Motion, Articular / physiology