What is the impingement-free range of motion of the asymptomatic hip in young adult males?

Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

Clinical orthopaedics and related research


BACKGROUND: Femoroacetabular impingement is a recognized cause of chondrolabral injury. Although surgical treatment for impingement seeks to improve range of motion, there are very little normative data on dynamic impingement-free hip range of motion (ROM) in asymptomatic people. Hip ultrasound demonstrates labral anatomy and femoral morphology and, when used dynamically, can assist in measuring range of motion.

QUESTIONS/PURPOSES: The purposes of this study were (1) to measure impingement-free hip ROM until labral deflection is observed; and (2) to measure the maximum degree of sagittal plane hip flexion when further flexion is limited by structural femoroacetabular abutment.

METHODS: Forty asymptomatic adult male volunteers (80 hips) between the ages of 21 and 35 years underwent bilateral static and dynamic hip ultrasound examination. Femoral morphology was characterized and midsagittal flexion passive ROM was measured at two points: (1) at the initiation of labral deformation; and (2) at maximum flexion when the femur impinged on the acetabular rim. The mean age of the subjects was 28 ± 3 years and the mean body mass index was 25 ± 4 kg/m(2).

RESULTS: Mean impingement-free hip passive flexion measured from full extension to initial labral deflection was 68° ± 17° (95% confidence interval [CI], 65-72). Mean maximum midsagittal passive flexion, measured at the time of bony impingement, was 96° ± 6° (95% CI, 95-98).

CONCLUSIONS: Using dynamic ultrasound, we found that passive ROM in the asymptomatic hip was much less than the motion reported in previous studies. Measuring ROM using ultrasound is more accurate because it allows anatomic confirmation of terminal hip motion.

CLINICAL SIGNIFICANCE: Surgical procedures used to treat femoroacetabular impingement are designed to restore or increase hip ROM and their results should be evaluated in light of precise normative data. This study suggests that normal passive impingement-free femoroacetabular flexion in the young adult male is approximately 95°.

Medical Subject Headings

Adult; Asymptomatic Diseases; Biomechanical Phenomena; Femoracetabular Impingement; Hip Joint; Humans; Male; Range of Motion, Articular; Reference Values; Ultrasonography; Young Adult

PubMed ID






First Page


Last Page