Mend Physical Therapy Blog and Injury Information

Physical Therapy Joint Mobilizations Improve Hip Strength

February 12, 2021


Physical Therapy spinal and extremity joint mobilizations are slow passive movements applied to a patient’s joint surfaces. These interventions have been shown to decrease pain, improve range of motion, and increase the immediate force production of a targeted joint’s musculature. In our Boulder Physical Therapy practice, these joint mobilizations are performed with other manual therapy techniques in order to facilitate a patient’s ability to exercise at an optimal level. Researchers continue to identify potential mechanisms behind its’ effectiveness, but most authors agree the improvements in strength are due to an improvement in communication between the joint’s musculature and the nervous system. A recent study was conducted to determine the impact of joint mobilizations in a group of patients with anterior knee pain (patellofemoral pain syndrome).

Pfluegler and colleagues conducted a randomized controlled, cross over trial on the impact of hip mobilizations in patients with anterior knee pain (JMMT. 2021). Participants were included in the trial if they demonstrated poor stability on a single leg squat test, hip weakness, and limited hip mobility. Authors then randomized participants to either a placebo joint mobilization for 5 minutes or two hip mobilizations including an anterior posterior glide and a mobilization based on the patient’s mobility impairments. Strength was tested before and after each of these interventions. Authors then had each participant cross over to the other group and repeat the interventions. They reported a significant increase in hip strength following the hip mobilizations compared to the placebo. The authors concluded these mobilizations may provide an opportunity for the patients to exercise with improved muscle activation. during exercise.

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