Hip Abduction

By Bridget Cunningham

Hip Abduction Definition1: Abduction means moving away from the midline of one’s body in a sagittal plane of motion.

  • During hip abduction, the convex (head of the femur) is moving on a concave surface (acetabulum). So the roll and glide will be in a opposite direction: a superior roll with an inferior glide.

Hip Abductor Muscles and their innervations 2

  • Gluteus Medius - Superior Gluteal Nerve
  • Sartorius - Femoral Nerve
  • Tensor Fascia Latae - Superior Gluteal Nerve
  • Iliotibial Band (ITB)

Normal ROM 3

  • Abduction: 45 degrees


oITB/TFL: Pt. is supine on plinth. She then crosses her leg over her body so it is almost hanging off opposite side of table. Pt should feel a stretch on the outside of her leg that is crossing over her body. Hold for 30 seconds, two times each leg.

o ITB/TFL: Pt. is standing. She crosses her legs so her feet are still next to each other, and bends to the side of her back leg. She should feel a stretch on the outside of the leg that is in back of the other one. Hold for 30 seconds twice on each leg.

o Glut. Med: Pt. is long sitting on the plinth. She then crosses her legs and brings one knee toward her chest and hugs it in order to feel a stretch deep in her lateral buttock region, while keeping the other leg straight. Hold for 30 seconds, twice on each leg.

Stretching your hip abductors will help with these pathologies: 4,5
- Prolonged bed rest
- Trochanteric Bursitis
- Tightness

Strengthening Exercises 4

Standing Hip Abduction
o Pt. is standing while holding onto a stable object. She has a yellow TheraBand wrapped around her ankle attached to the stable object. She then begins to kick her leg out to the side and bring it back toward her other leg.
o She will repeat this for 3 sets of 10 repetitions. For progression, she will then be given a red (or green, blue, or black) TheraBand in order to increase resistance. Again, she will repeat for 3 sets of 10 repetitions.

Sidelying leg lifts
o Pt is sidelying on plinth with her bottom leg bent to where she is comfortable, and the top leg is slightly extended and straight, so her ankle is in line with her shoulder. She then lifts her leg up to about 45-50 degrees and slowly lowers it back down. She will do this for 3 sets of 10 repetitions.
For progression, she will add a 1-2 pound weight around her ankle, and repeat the same method for 3 sets of 10.

o Pt is sidelying with both knees bent. While keeping both ankles together, she will separate her knees by lifting the top keep up and then back down. She will do this for 3 sets of 10. For progression of this exercise, she can then do “Monster Walks,” where pt. is standing, and has a Yellow (or red, green, blue, or black) TheraBand tied around her ankles, squats, and walks sideways for about 10 feet and then back 3 times. The different color TheraBands depend on the resistance; so the darker the color, the more resistance.

Strengthening your hip abductors will help with these pathologies:
- Trendelenburg Gait

Additional Website: explaining weakness of hip abductors: 4


1. Quinn, Elizabeth. Abduction – Abduct – Definition. About Health Web Site. http://sportsmedicine.about.com/od/glossary/g/abduct_def.htm. Accessed November 28, 2014.

2. O’Rahilly, Muller, Carpenter, & Swenson. Basic Human Anatomy Web Site. http://www.dartmouth.edu/~humananatomy/part_3/chapter_14.html. Accessed Dec 1, 2014.

3. Available at: http://downloads.lww.com/wolterskluwer_vitalstream_com/sample-content/9780781767927_Armiger/samples/Armiger_Chapter3. Accessed December 5, 2014.

4. Pathological Gait: Musculoskeletal. http://courses.washington.edu/anatomy/KinesiologySyllabus/PathGait1Ortho.pdf. Accessed December 2, 2014.

5. Trochanteric or Hip Bursitis. Results Physiotherapy Web Site. https://www.resultsphysiotherapy.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/Hip-Bursitis_Web.pdf. Accessed Dec 4, 2014.

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