Contributions of individual muscles to hip joint contact force in normal walking Academic Article uri icon


  • The human hip joint withstands high contact forces during daily activity and is therefore susceptible to injury and structural deterioration over time. Knowledge of muscle-force contributions to hip joint loading may assist in the development of strategies to prevent and manage conditions such as osteoarthritis, femoro-acetabular impingement and fracture. The main aim of this study was to determine the contributions of individual muscles to hip contact force in normal walking. Muscle contributions to hip contact force were calculated based on a previously published dynamic optimization solution for normal walking, which provided the time histories of joint motion, ground reaction forces, and muscle forces during the stance and swing phases of gait. The force developed by each muscle plus its contribution to the ground reaction force were used to determine the muscle's contribution to hip contact force. Muscles were the major contributors to hip contact force, with gravitational and centrifugal forces combined contributing less than 5% of the total contact force. Four muscles that span the hip - gluteus medius, gluteus maximus, iliopsoas, and hamstrings - contributed most significantly to the three components of the hip contact force and hip contact impulse (integral of hip contact force over time). Three muscles that do not span the hip - vasti, soleus, and gastrocnemius - also contributed substantially to hip joint loading. These results provide additional insight into lower-limb muscle function during walking and may also be relevant to studies of cartilage degeneration and bone remodelling at the hip.

publication date

  • May 2010