Vertical and horizontal hop performance: contributions of the hip, knee, and ankle

Review written by Dr Teddy Willsey info

Key Points

  1. The single leg vertical jump test is a better indicator of knee function than the single leg horizontal hop test.
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Single leg hop tests are frequently used to assess lower limb function and symmetry during the return to sport decision-making process. Previous research has shown the single leg triple hop for distance to be a valid and reliable test for assessing knee function (1).

Although the triple hop is the most studied functional performance test for ACL patients, its ability to discern knee function and limb symmetry has come into question (2, 3). Additionally, research has shown many patients may unknowingly employ landing strategies to off-load the knee during hop tests (4).

Power production during the vertical jump has been thought to be more indicative of knee function than during the horizontal jump, however research has yet to examine unilateral kinetic and kinematic data on the two jump patterns (5).

The purpose of this study was to identify specific lower limb biomechanical strategies in the unilateral vertical and horizontal hop, compare and contrast relative joint contributions, and inform clinicians about which tests may be more helpful for assessing joint-specific functional deficits.

Previous research has shown the triple hop for distance to be a valid and reliable test for assessing knee function.
The high reliance on knee braking strategy in the horizontal hop indicates that greater emphasis should be placed on analyzing landing mechanics in this test.


20 males (average age 29) who actively participated in sports at least 3 times per week were recruited to participate in this single session laboratory-based study. The authors utilized a cross-sectional design to create normative data regarding the relative contributions

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