The objective of this study was to determine the association between hip abduction strength and lower extremity running related injury in distance runners through a systematic review.
Prospective longitudinal and cross sectional studies that quantified hip abduction strength and provided diagnosis of running related injury in distance runners were included and assessed for quality. Effect size was calculated for between group differences in hip abduction strength.
Of the 1841 articles returned in the initial search, 11 studies matched all inclusion criteria. Studies were grouped according to injury: iliotibial band syndrome, patellofemoral pain syndrome, medial tibial stress syndrome, tibial stress fracture, and Achilles tendinopathy, and examined for strength differences between injured and non-injured groups. Meaningful differences were found in the studies examining iliotibial band syndrome. Three of five iliotibial band syndrome articles found weakness in runners with iliotibial band syndrome; two were of strong methodological rigor and both of those found a relationship between weakness and injury. Other results did not form associative or predictive relationships between weakness and injury in distance runners.
Hip abduction weakness evaluated by hand held dynamometer may be associated with iliotibial band syndrome in distance runners as suggested by several cross sectional studies but is unclear as a significant factor for the development of patellofemoral pain syndrome, medial tibial stress syndrome, tibial stress fracture or Achilles tendinopathy according to the current literature. Future studies are needed with consistent methodology and inclusion of all distance running populations to determine the significance of hip abduction strength in relationship to lower extremity injury.