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As high school female athletes demonstrate a rate of noncontact anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury 3–6 times higher than their male counterparts, research suggests that sagittal-plane hip strength plays a role in factors associated with ACL injuries.
To determine if gender or age affect hip-abductor strength in a functional standing position in young female and male athletes.
Prospective cohort design.
Over a 3-y time period, 852 isokinetic hip-abduction evaluations were conducted on 351 (272 female, 79 male) adolescent soccer and basketball players.
Before testing, athletes were secured in a standing position, facing the dynamometer head, with a strap secured from the uninvolved side and extending around the waist just above the iliac crest. The dynamometer head was positioned in line with the body in the coronal plane by aligning the axis of rotation of the dynamometer with the center of hip rotation. Subjects performed 5 maximum-effort repetitions at a speed of 120°/s. The peak torque was recorded and normalized to body mass. All test trials were conducted by a single tester to limit potential interrater test error.
Main Outcome Measure:
Standing isokinetic hip-abduction torque.
Hip-abduction torque increased in both males and females with age (P < .001) on both the dominant and nondominant sides. A significant interaction of gender and age was observed (P < .001), which indicated that males experienced greater increases in peak torque relative to body weight than did females as they matured.
Males exhibit a significant increase in normative hip-abduction strength, while females do not. Future study may determine if the absence of similar increased relative hip-abduction strength in adolescent females, as they age, may be related to their increased risk of ACL injury compared with males.
Brent is with the Academy of Sports Performance, Cincinnati, OH. Myer, Paterno, and Hewett are with the Sports Medicine Biodynamics Center and Human Performance Laboratory, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, OH. Ford is with the Dept of Physical Therapy, High Point University, NC.