Hip Internal Rotation - Part 2

In the first instalment of this series, we talked about hip internal rotation (femoral medial rotation) and a basic overview of what the movement looked like. We also included a few tid-bits from research papers about how hip internal rotation can be related to a pinching sensation in the hips. The study we referenced, by Kapron et at (2012), showed that although 95% of the hips that they scanned had radiographic changes towards some kind of impingement, only 8.5% had pain during an impingement test (hip internal rotation and flexion of the hip) and only 2.3% had pain during the FABER test (hip external rotation).

The hip internal rotation test is explained well here, and looks like this:

The FABER test looks like this, and is explained here:

We then discussed how Boutris et al (2018), found that there was a significant association between ACL tear and both limited hip rotation and radiographic FAI (femoral acetabular impingement), insinuating that decreased hip range of motion should be taken as a potential risk factor for injury.

So, what should we do about limited hip range of motion in internal rotation and is it important for everyone?

Why do athletes need good hip internal rotation?

During a change of direction or when making a cut during field-based sports (or during skating, making a quick change-of-direction), hip internal rotation helps decelerate the body while also loading the hip allowing for a powerful re-acceleration.

In sprinting, hip internal rotation allows the athlete to maximally extend their hip and get over the stance leg at terminal stance/toe off, thus improving stride length.

For rotational athletes in golf, baseball, tennis, etc., hip internal rotation is crucial for optimizing force transfer from the lower extremity to the upper extremity. Hip internal rotation allows more momentum to be developed in the fascia for free power in the movement

When squatting, adequate hip internal rotation allows the femur head to remain centered within the acetabulum (hip socket) allowing for a “cleaner” pattern free of compensation at the lumbar spine/knees/ankles.

Is it important for everyone to have good range?

As you can see from the list of qualities where hip internal rotation is needed, it is probably important for everyone to have good hip internal range. The amount of hip internal rotation that is normal, is 45 degrees, but most people can get away with 30-35 degrees.

To measure your hip internal rotation, you can sit with your hip to 90 degrees on a chair, and pull your heels laterally while keeping your knees together. The edit function on iPhoto can help you figure out the angles you can achieve with the ruler function, as shown in this picture here:

On the next installment of this series, we will look at the following questions:

Where do we compensate if we don't have good hip internal rotation?

What can we do to improve our hip internal rotation?

Why is stretching as an intervention, ineffective for improving hip internal rotation?

Part 3 of this hip internal rotation series will be out soon! Feel free to subscribe to our site by hitting "Login" at the top of the page - this will make you a member and keep you in-the-loop when new blog posts come out!


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