Clinical Biomechanics of the Hip Joint
Biomechanics is a broad field that commonly analyzes the movement and forces generated and transmitted by and through the musculoskeletal system. Simple observation of movement is the most basic biomechanical analysis; however, laboratory methods often involve the use of complex measurement tools to quantify motion and forces on the body. Pathology of the hip joint oftentimes results in alterations of the biomechanics at the hip or other links in the kinetic chain. The understanding of the biomechanics of the hip joint is important from a clinical perspective as this information can assist in guiding clinical decision making for certain hip pathologies. Although an extensive body of literature exists on the biomechanics of the hip in individuals with osteoarthritis (OA), less is known about conditions such as femoroacetabular impingement (FAI) or acetabular labral tears, which have also been shown to influence the movement and forces at the hip joint. Understanding the normal osteokinematics, arthrokinematics, and muscle actions at the hip joint provides clinicians with the basic biomechanical background to detect impairments that may impact function and contribute to injury. Human gait serves as an excellent model in which to discuss the biomechanics of the lower extremity and has been extensively studied in patients with hip pathology.
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