BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2018 19:303

Individuals with mild-to-moderate hip osteoarthritis have lower limb muscle strength and volume deficits

Aderson Loureiro, Maria Constantinou, Laura E. Diamond, Belinda Beck and Rod Barrett


Individuals with advanced hip osteoarthritis (OA) exhibit generalized muscle weakness of the affected limb and so clinical practice guidelines recommend strength training for the management of hip OA. However, the extent and pattern of muscle weakness, including any between-limb asymmetries, in early stages of the disease are unclear. This study compared hip and knee muscle strength and volumes between individuals with mild-to-moderate symptomatic and radiographic hip OA and a healthy control group.


Nineteen individuals with mild-to-moderate symptomatic and radiographic hip OA (n = 12 unilateral; n = 7 bilateral) and 23 age-matched, healthy controls without radiographic hip OA or hip pain participated. Isometric strength of the hip and knee flexors and extensors, and hip abductors and adductors were measured. Hip and thigh muscle volumes were measured from lower limb magnetic resonance images. A full-factorial, two-way General Linear Model was used to assess differences between groups and between limbs.


Participants in the hip OA group demonstrated significantly lower knee flexor, knee extensor, hip flexor, hip extensor and hip abductor strength compared to controls and had significantly lower volume of the adductor, hamstring and quadriceps groups, and gluteus maximus and gluteus minimus muscles, but not tensor fasciae latae or gluteus medius muscles. There were no between-limb strength differences or volume differences within either group.


Atrophic, bilateral hip and knee muscle weakness is a feature of individuals with mild-to-moderate hip OA. Early interventions to target muscle weakness and prevent the development of strength asymmetries that are characteristic of advanced hip OA appear warranted.

Download article