Stanford Athletic Trainer Examines Hip Flexor Influence on Lower Extremity Biomechanics

Thomas TestAssistant Athletic Trainer, Matt Mills MA, ATC, PES, CKTP, was recently published in the December 2015 edition of the International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy (IJSPT) as the lead author of the study entitled Effect of Restricted Hip Flexor Muscle Length on Hip Extensor Muscle Activity and Lower Extremity Biomechanics in College-Aged Female Soccer Players. Mills and the rest of the research team based out of UNC-Chapel Hill examined whether hip flexor length, as measured through a common clinical test, would cause alterations in lower extremity biomechanics.

The research team found that hip flexor tightness greatly altered the recruitment of the gluteus maximus and the biceps femoris, bud did not affect overall hip extensor strength. As such, they hypothesized that the body used the hamstring musculature to compensate for the altered gluteus maximus. This study is one of the first studies to demonstrate this phenomenon, and could help with demonstrating key biomechanic principles in the lower body. It also may point to additional factors when evaluating risk of various lower extremity injuries, including hamstring strains and ACL tears.

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