Hop tests are great functional assessments to see whether or not certain activities or exercises are appropriate for an athlete’s skill level.
When it comes to testing patients and athletes to determine if they are ready to return to a sport or activity after an injury, it can be extremely helpful to see how they perform on functional tests. A person might have normal range-of-motion and what seems to be normal strength, but they still might have problems that can put them at risk when working or competing. Functional tests are specific activities that simulate sport or workplace skills by challenging motor competence in patterns of motion which use multiple joints acting with various axes and numerous planes.
There are multiple different types of functional testing that can be done for the lower extremity, but one important series of tests involves hopping on one leg. This is an important thing because it can bring out functional deficits in athletes. Because a person alternates jumping from leg to leg during running imbalances and weaknesses in one of the legs can be masked. Hopping on one leg during a hop test is reliable for finding problems in these patients. They can be used to assess balance in patients as well as coordination, functional mobility, occupational performance and strength. In those that have had injuries to their lower extremities, passing a hop test can be a good indicator that the person has been properly rehabbed.
Single Leg Hop Tests
There are a couple different types of hop tests, but we will only focus on four of them because these will be most useful for runners: single hop, triple hop, crossover hop and the 6-meter hop for time. All of these hop tests are performed using the uninjured leg and then they are repeated with the leg that had been injured and the sides are compared. For a test to count for distance, the athlete must land on the last hop and maintain balance for at least 2 seconds without touching a hand or the other foot to the ground. You are also not allowed extra hops. For each of these tests, there should be less than a 10% difference in the distance covered or time to completion. More than a 10% difference means that there is still work to be done. On the single hop test, a person is supposed to hop forward as far as possible without losing their balance. On the triple hop test, a person is of supposed to hop forward three times as far as they can. The crossover hop test assesses medial/lateral stability in the lower extremity and is when a person hops forward as far as they can three times while crossing over a line with each hop. The 6-meter timed hop is where a person hops forward on one leg as quickly as possible for a distance of 6 m.
The reason that this becomes an issue is that athletes have the tendency to try to push themselves to get back to their sport too soon. If you do not have the strength and stability on an injured leg to hop approximately as far as the uninjured leg, you might be setting yourself up for further injury. The hop test can obviously be done formally in a clinic by a qualified healthcare provider. An athlete can also administer these tests to themselves to see if their hip, knee or ankle feels stable and strong.
Hop Test at Home
Doing the hop tests at home means that you need to learn how to get the measurement correct. You need to use something to mark where you started from and where you end up, so a few small pieces of tape could be helpful. You could also do the marking with a piece of chalk. You would place a piece of tape on the ground marking where you start from and start with your toe at the tape. You would then mark at the big toe where you end up after the right number of hops for the test you are doing. You can just go back to the start to do the injured leg. The other option is to turn around and start with your toe at the tape that you just ended and see if you can land where you had started with the uninjured leg. For the crossover hop test, you will need a line to hop over. It could be a chalk line or you could place a string or measuring tape as the line. Obviously, you would need to be careful about placing something on the ground that would cause you to slip if you landed on it.
Doing the different hop tests at home can give you a good idea of how the leg feels when you are doing it. Most people can feel the difference between injured and uninjured legs and can tell if there is a problem or not. You may get to the point where it feels fine from side to side but this is where it would be important to be sure that you pass with less than a 10% difference in distance hopped in the single hop, triple hop or crossover hop or the time to complete in the 6m timed hop.
Video Transcript: What are Single Leg Hop Tests?
My name is Dr. Brian Royer and I’m here with some healthy hints for harmony. Today we’re gonna be talking about single-hop tests. And basically these hop tests are gonna be great functional assessments in order to help to figure out whether or not a person is doing an appropriate activity for them.
A lot of times after an injury athletes want to start to push things the little bit too early, want to get back into this sport. And this is one way to actually figure out whether or not a person is ready to return to a sport after they’ve been injured. The thing is that when it comes to running, is that, when you’re jumping from leg to leg, which is basically obviously what running is. That’s one way that you can actually hide imbalances, which between the legs and weakness ain an injured leg.
So the single hop test you’re doing with a single leg hop. You’re staying on one leg the entire time and you’re hopping. And that will help to bring out differences from side to side. So again, this is something that can be with the entire lower extremity. So the foot, the ankle, the knee, the hip and it also has a little bit to do with the low back and the core. And again, it’s a reliable way of finding problems with those kind of patients. It helps to assess balance and it’s gonna assess coordination, general functional mobility, and also occupational performance and strength, specifically in that leg.
So again, if somebody can pass one of these tests when they’re done, then you pretty much know that they’ve been properly rehabed. And if they haven’t tested it, or if they haven’t passed it, then that can be something that’s a little bit more problematic.
You can actually also compare yourself between other people with this test because you can measure like your inseam length and you can see like how tall that leg is compared to how far that you actually go. And you can do percentages that way, but that’s not really what’s important. For this, this is gonna be basically trying to be looking at, comparing it with yourself side to side, to see whether or not you’re basically balanced or not.
So now we’re gonna talk about doing the hop test at home. And basically what you’re gonna do is you’re gonna need something in order to help you to kind of measure how well you’re doing with it. So basically, you need something to mark where you start from and mark where you stop from. The way that we did it is that we actually have a measuring tape that’s here on the ground.
So you need about six meters and six meters is about 19 feet and eight inches, something along those lines. It’s better to do it off of the meters because the meters is the way that the testing is actually done. But if you start off with a line, a chalk line on the ground, and that’s where you start from. And then you do the jump and then you mark on the ground with the chalk. You do it at the toe, where your front toe is. So you start, if this is where the line is, you start with your toe on the line. You do the hopping, and then when you end, you’re gonna mark at the end where the toe ends at the big toe.
So basically you’re gonna go through and you’re gonna do that. You can start and go out on the uninjured leg and then come back to your start. And then go out again on the injured leg, or you can go out and then come back and see if you hit where you started from, and how close that you get to. So there’s a couple different ways that you can do it. It may depend on how much pain or problems that you’re feeling when you’re trying to do it and why you’re trying to do this.
And when it comes down to it again, there’s a couple of different ways to do it. So another thing is that you need something to hop over, which is the reason why we end up having the measuring tape there. When you do the crossover test, you need to go from side to side on it, each time that you jump. So you have to be careful, obviously, because you don’t wanna actually land on whatever you put on the ground and then slip. So you have to be careful about that.
But this is one way that you can do it in order to get an idea of how the leg feels and whether or not you should be actually like going out and running on it or trying to stress it. And really you’re trying to look at the differences side to side. And the first thing is, does it feel different? So if you have an injured leg and the injured leg feels different, or it doesn’t feel as strong as the other one, then the numbers and stuff like that doesn’t necessarily matter.
But if you get to the point where the legs feel about the same side to side, then you may want to be a little bit more specific with the measurements. And this would be something where you could come somewhere, that somebody could actually help you with it and actually do it for you. Or you can try to do the measuring yourself. And in that case, you want there to be less than a 10% difference in the distance that you hop or in the time that it takes to do the hop.
So the six meter test is that hopping and trying to get through it as fast as you can. Again, the timeframe shouldn’t be different, so it shouldn’t be super slow on the injured leg compared to the uninjured leg. But there’s math involved with this. So the way that you’re gonna end up doing the math that’s associated with it is that you’re gonna end up having, if you’re talking about a 10% difference, you’re gonna take the differences between the distances that you hop or times that you hop. And then you’re gonna divide that by the larger distance.
So for example, if on the bad leg, you do 3.75 meters and on the good leg, you do four meters. The difference between that is 0.25, and you take 0.25 divided by four, and that gets you 6.25%. If you’re talking about let’s say that you did it in a different time or a different person, again, that’s just using rounder numbers, but if it was 3.5 meters and four meters, the difference being 0.5 meters divided by four is gonna be 12.5%. So the one that’s at 12.5%, that would technically be a failure. Whereas, the 6.25% isn’t gonna be a failure. So again, there’s gonna be the differences between those. So that’s gonna be how you’re gonna do it.
Now we’re gonna actually take a look so you can actually see how those tests are actually done. Okay.
Video Transcript: How to Do Single Leg Hop Tests
Okay, so we’re gonna go ahead and do the single hop of the single-leg hop test. We’ll go ahead and start off. So this is just gonna be where you’re gonna hop with one foot and you’re gonna hop as far as you can one time. Then you have to stick it. So go ahead. Okay. Then she can go ahead and mark her spot there. And when you go to mark the spot, you can put your foot down, when you do that.
Now you’re gonna go ahead and she’s gonna do it on the other side. And what you want to do is you want to compare side to side. Good. So again, that’s just kind of give you an idea again, this is something that you can measure and you can do a couple of different things. But again, this is more informal when you’re doing this kind of stuff.
Now, moving on to the next one, it’s gonna be the triple hop. And basically, again, it’s gonna be on one leg. You’re gonna hop three times. You need to stick the landing and then you’re gonna mark your spot. So go ahead when you’re ready. Okay. The next test is gonna be the crossover hop. Now you can see that we’ve got the tape measure that’s here in the center and that’s going out there again. Again, this is gonna be something that you’re gonna need to use something on the ground that you can have to hop over.
Again, you have to be careful. Don’t actually hop on whatever it is that’s there because obviously you can slip and you can have a couple of different issues when it comes to that. So again, the cross-over hop, you’re just gonna hop three times. So there’s gonna be three separate hops. You’re gonna hop immediately over it. And then you’re gonna go back to the other side. And then back to the other side. Again, you’re gonna end up getting three hops from there. Okay. And again, this is gonna be something that you’re gonna compare side to side. So same thing. And you want to do the other leg and you’re gonna do the exact same thing. Okay. So that’s gonna be the cross-over hop.
So the last of these is gonna end up being the six meter timed hop. When it comes to the six meter timed hop, obviously you’re gonna need to measure out six meters, then you just stay on the same side. You don’t need to hop across it when you’re doing this one. Again, here, you can see that we’re a little bit short on space. It kind of ends up near where the table is. So when you do this, normally what you would do is you would just continue hopping through when you get to the end point. Now you’re going to need some kind of a stopwatch, some kind of a timer in order to actually do it. You can use your phone, you can use an actual stopwatch however it is that you want to do that. And when it comes down to it again, you can either have somebody time you, or you can end up doing it yourself. So the idea is that again, hit it when you first start off. And then when you cross that six meters, then go ahead and hit it again. And you want to compare your time from one side to the other side to see how well that you do. So we’ll go ahead and do it. So when you’re ready.
Okay, come on back. Excellent. Okay. And that’s it. Thanks for watching.