Can clinicians trust objective measures of hip muscle strength from portable dynamometers? A systematic review with meta-analysis and evidence gap map of 107 studies of reliability and criterion validity using the COSMIN methodology

Review written by Dr Stacey Hardin info

Key Points

  1. Hip muscle strength testing using portable dynamometers is reliable. Handheld/manual resistance and external fixation devices both had sufficient reliability; however, high quality evidence was indicated more often with external fixation devices.
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Changes in hip strength are common in individuals with lower body and trunk injuries (1). Portable dynamometers make measuring muscle strength more accessible to the daily clinician compared to larger or more permanent devices commonly used in a lab setting. Having a reliable and valid way to assess muscle strength and measure change over time is imperative to track the efficacy of an intervention and its intended outcomes.

The objective of this study was to summarize the evidence on the relative reliability and criterion validity of hip muscle strength testing using portable dynamometers.

Changes in hip strength are common in individuals with lower body and trunk injuries.
There is good evidence to support the use of portable dynamometers in measuring hip muscle strength, however, clinicians need to exhibit confidence with the tools and consider patient position based on your testing goal.


Five databases were electronically searched for relevant studies. Studies were included if they met the following criteria:

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