Influence of Hip Position and Gender on Active Hip Internal and External Rotation

J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 1998 Sep;28(3):158-64. doi: 10.2519/jospt.1998.28.3.158.


A general lack of descriptive details exists for measurements of hip rotation range of motion. This study was designed to establish the influence of gender and hip flexion position on active range of motion of the hip in external and internal rotation. Sixty (39 females and 21 males) healthy college-age (21.8 +/- 1.7 years) subjects were studied. Hip rotation of the dominant leg of each subject was measured in the prone (hip near 0 degree of flexion) and seated (hip near 90 degrees of flexion) positions using a standard goniometer. Data were analyzed using an analysis of variance model. Pearson's r statistics were used to determine the degree of association between measurements of hip rotation made seated vs. prone. A statistically significant difference (p < 0.05) was found between mean hip external rotation (ER) measured seated (36 +/- 7 degrees) and mean hip ER measured prone (45 +/- 10 degrees). Conversely, mean hip internal rotation (IR) measured seated (33 +/- 7 degrees) was not statistically different than mean hip IR measured prone (36 +/- 9 degrees). Females had statistically more active hip internal and external rotation than males (p < 0.05). A moderate degree of association existed between measurements of hip ER taken in the prone vs. seated position (r = 0.57, p < 0.05). For IR, the degree of association between the two measurement positions was slightly higher (r = 0.72, p < 0.05). Unlike the amount of active hip internal rotation which showed little difference between measurements made prone vs. seated, our data indicate that measurement position had a significant effect on the amount of active range of motion of the hip in ER. These findings are clinically significant for they stress the importance of documenting measurement position. They also stress the need for representative norms to be established for each hip position and gender.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Female
  • Hip / anatomy & histology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Range of Motion, Articular*
  • Reference Values
  • Sex Factors