The continuum of hip range of motion: From soft-tissue restriction to bony impingement

Shuyang Han, Virgenal L. Owens, Rikin V. Patel, Sabir K. Ismaily, Melvyn A. Harrington, Stephen J. Incavo, Philip C. Noble

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Traditional studies of hip kinematics have not identified which anatomic structures limit the range of motion (ROM) when the hip is placed in different maneuvers. In this study, we attempted to answer two questions: (a) During which maneuvers is the motion of the hip limited by bony impingement between the femur and pelvis? (b) When is hip ROM determined by the constraint of soft tissues and to what extent? ROM of eight cadaveric hips was measured in 17 maneuvers using a motion capture system. The maneuvers were recreated in silico using 3D CT models of each specimen to detect the occurrence of bony impingement. If bony impingement was not detected, the variable component of 3D hip motion was increased until a collision was detected. The difference between the virtual ROM at the point of bony impingement and the initial ROM measured experimentally was termed as the soft-tissue restriction. The results showed that bony impingement was present in normal hips during maneuvers consisting of high abduction with flexion, and high flexion combined with adduction and internal rotation. At impingement-free maneuvers, the degree of soft tissue restriction varies remarkably, ranging from 4.9° ± 3.8° (internal rotation) at 90° of flexion to 80.0° ± 12.5° (internal rotation) at maximum extension. The findings shed light on the relative contributions of osseous and soft tissues to the motion of the hip in different maneuvers and allow for a better understanding of physical exams of different purposes in diagnosing bone- or soft tissue-related diseases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1779-1786
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Orthopaedic Research
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2020


  • bony impingement
  • hip range of motion
  • soft tissue restriction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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