Sub-elite Football Players With Hip-Related Groin Pain and a Positive Flexion, Adduction, and Internal Rotation Test Exhibit Distinct Biomechanical Differences Compared With the Asymptomatic Side
Background Hip-related groin pain is common in sub-elite football players and may be associated with altered hip biomechanics. Objectives To compare the hip biomechanics, bony hip morphology associated with femoroacetabular impingement (FAI) syndrome, and hip strength and range of motion (ROM) between the symptomatic and asymptomatic limbs of sub-elite football players with unilateral hip-related groin pain and a positive flexion, adduction, and internal rotation (FADIR) test. Methods Fifteen sub-elite football (soccer) players with unilateral hip-related groin pain and a positive FADIR test were recruited for this observational cross-sectional study. Three-dimensional motion analysis and ground reaction force data were recorded for walking and a single-leg drop-jump (SLDJ) task. Participants also underwent a standard anterior-posterior hip radiograph and hip strength and ROM assessment. Between-limb differences were assessed using paired t tests or Wilcoxon signed-rank tests. Results The symptomatic limb displayed a smaller peak hip extension angle (P = .01) and a lower peak hip adduction moment (P = .03) compared with the asymptomatic limb during the stance phase of walking. Additionally, during the SLDJ, the symptomatic limb demonstrated less total sagittal plane ROM (P = .04). The symptomatic limb also demonstrated less external rotation ROM (P = .03). However, no differences were found between limbs for bony hip morphology associated with FAI syndrome or hip strength. Conclusion This study found between-limb asymmetries in low- and high-impact functional tasks, such as walking and an SLDJ, in football players with unilateral hip-related groin pain. Despite unilateral pain, bony morphology associated with FAI syndrome did not differ between limbs. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther 2018;48(7):584-593. Epub 8 May 2018. doi:10.2519/jospt.2018.7910.