To compare the strength of the hip musculature in people with symptomatic medial knee osteoarthritis (OA) with asymptomatic controls.


Eighty-nine people with knee OA and 23 controls age >50 years were recruited from the community. The maximal isometric strength (torque relative to body mass) of the hip abductors, adductors, flexors, extensors, and internal and external rotators was evaluated using hand-held dynamometry or a customized force transducer apparatus. Univariate linear models with age and sex included as covariates were used to compare muscle strength between groups.


In people with knee OA, significant strength deficits were evident for all hip muscle groups evaluated (P < 0.05). Compared with controls, strength deficits ranged from 16% (hip extensors) to 27% (hip external rotators) after accounting for differences in sex and age between groups.


People with knee OA demonstrate significant weakness of the hip musculature compared with asymptomatic controls. It is not clear if hip muscle weakness precedes the onset of knee OA or occurs as a consequence of disease. Findings from this study support the inclusion of hip strengthening exercises in rehabilitation programs.