Vertical and Horizontal Hop Performance: Contributions of the Hip, Knee, and Ankle

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Background: Single-leg vertical and horizontal hop tests are commonly used to assess performance of healthy athletes and as a measure of progress during rehabilitation from knee injury. It is unclear if they measure similar aspects of leg function, as the relative joint contributions of the hip, knee, and ankle joints during propulsion and landing are unknown. Hypothesis: The proportion of work done by the hip, knee, and ankle will not be the same for these 2 jump types and will vary for propulsive and landing phases. Study Design: Cross-sectional cohort study. Level of Evidence: Level 3. Methods: Twenty physically active participants completed instrumented single-leg hop analysis in both vertical and horizontal directions. Joint peak power, work generated or absorbed, and percentage contribution of each joint during propulsive and landing phases were compared between tasks using paired t tests. Results: Vertical hop was performed with roughly similar contributions of the hip, knee, and ankle for both propulsion (31%, 34%, 35%, respectively) and landing (29%, 34%, 37%, respectively). Horizontal hop distance was mostly (87%) determined by the hip and ankle (44% and 43%), but landing was mostly (65%) performed by the knee with lesser contribution from the hip and ankle (24% and 11%). Propulsive phase showed a proximal-to-distal temporal sequence for both hop types, but landing was more complex. Conclusion: Performance during vertical and horizontal hops (jump height and jump distance, respectively) measures different aspects of hip, knee, and ankle function during the propulsive and landing phases. Clinical Relevance: Assessment of knee joint function during rehabilitation should not be done using a horizontal hop. The knee contributes about a third to vertical hop height, but only about an eighth to horizontal hop distance. Practitioners carrying out performance testing using either vertical or horizontal hops should be mindful of the relative contributions for meaningful training inferences to be derived.




Kotsifaki, A., Korakakis, V., Graham-Smith, P., Sideris, V., & Whiteley, R. (2021). Vertical and Horizontal Hop Performance: Contributions of the Hip, Knee, and Ankle. Sports Health, 13(2), 128–135.

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