Measurement of Hip Range of Flexion-Extension and Straight-leg Raising


We believe there is a degree of inaccuracy in the usual methods of evaluation of range at the hip in the sagittal plane, ie, flexion-extension. We describe a simple method of measuring more accurately the range of hip flexion-extension, presuming such ranges of motion should relate to the anatomic position of the pelvis. We used this technique for the measurement of flexion and extension of the left hip in a cohort of 200 healthy individuals; we found a wide range of both flexion (80°–140°) and extension (5°–40°). Especially with respect to extension, we believe more conventional methods underestimate the ranges of motion. As a corollary to this study, we suggest some reappraisal of the straight-leg–raising test by which pain from nerve root tension can be distinguished from a source of pain arising locally in intervertebral joints for mechanical reasons or from the hip itself. We recommend the method described as being useful in the consulting office.

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We thank the randomly selected swimmers at the Sheffield University Swimming Pool who agreed to allow us to perform the examinations described in this paper.

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Correspondence to R. A. Elson FRCS.

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Each author certifies that he or she has no commercial associations (eg, consultancies, stock ownership, equity interest, patent/licensing arrangements, etc) that might pose a conflict of interest in connection with the submitted article.

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Elson, R.A., Aspinall, G.R. Measurement of Hip Range of Flexion-Extension and Straight-leg Raising. Clin Orthop Relat Res 466, 281–286 (2008).

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  • Lumbar Lordosis
  • Anatomic Position
  • Thoracic Kyphosis
  • Anterior Superior Iliac Spine
  • Left Thigh