Performance on the single-leg squat task indicates hip abductor muscle function.
Treating hip muscle weakness and dysfunction may often result in improved pain and function in several lower limb pathologies; this, however, should target the appropriate group of patients. The aim of this study was to develop a simple and reliable clinical test capable of identifying patients depending on their hip muscles performance (compared to EMG, force plate and isometric dynamometer measurement). The main findings are:
- The Single-Leg Squat task was chosen, as it is commonly used in practice. Patients are asked to squat down as far as possible, arms crossed on the chest, 5 times, in a slow and controlled manner (about 2s per squat).
- The performance is visually graded as "good", "fair" or "poor" by a physiotherapist, based on the overall impression, balance, posture and movement of the trunk, pelvis, hip and knee.
- Patients with a "poor" Single-Leg Squat performance also presented with a significant delay in Gluteus Medius activation, weaker hip abduction strength and weaker trunk strength.
- Reliability (intra-rater and inter-rater) was substantial to excellent.
In conclusion, the Single-Leg Squat is a reliable tool to identify patients that would need to improve their hip and trunk muscle weakness and dysfunction (by strengthening and neuromuscular coordination retraining). > From: Crossley et al., Am J Sports Med 39 (2011) 866 - 873. All rights reserved to The Author(s).
The Pubmed summary of the article can be found here.
Learn more about the anatomy of the hip muscles and how to perform the single leg squat by watching the YouTube clips below!