Muscle size and composition in people with articular hip pathology: a systematic review with meta-analysis Academic Article uri icon


  • OBJECTIVE:To synthesise and evaluate the current evidence investigating muscle size and composition in non-inflammatory articular hip pathology. METHODS:A systematic review of five electronic databases, using three concepts; articular hip pathology (e.g., osteoarthritis (OA)); hip muscles; and outcomes (e.g., muscle size and adiposity) was undertaken. Studies addressing non-inflammatory or non-traumatic articular hip pain, using measures of muscle size and adiposity were included and appraised for risk of bias. Data was extracted to calculate standardised mean differences (SMD) and pooled where possible for meta-analysis. RESULTS:Thirteen cross-sectional studies were included; all studies measured muscle size and 5/13 measured adiposity. In OA, there was low to very low quality evidence of no difference in hip muscle size, compared with matched controls. In unilateral OA, there was low to very low quality evidence of smaller size in gluteus minimus (SMD -0.38; 95% confidence interval (CI) -0.74, -0.01), gluteus medius (-0.44; 95% CI: -0.83, -0.05) and gluteus maximus (-0.39; 95% CI: -0.75, -0.02) muscles in the symptomatic limb. Individual studies demonstrated non-uniform changes in muscle size in OA. No significant difference was observed in muscle size in other pathologies or in adiposity for any group. CONCLUSION:There is some low quality evidence that specific hip muscles are smaller in unilateral hip OA. Variation in the magnitude of differences indicate changes in size are not uniform across all muscles or stage of pathology. Studies in larger cohorts investigating muscle size and composition across the spectrum of articular pathologies are required to clarify these findings.

publication date

  • 2018