If you are an athlete experiencing chronic hip pain:
…talk to your physician about a diagnosis.
…ask about hip arthroscopy for treatment.
…work with a sports physical therapist before and after surgery.
If hip pain and surgery make you think of only the elderly, think again. Hip issues also are common among athletes of all ages. While muscle strains are the most frequent sports-related hip injuries, other more serious injuries occur too.
For some of these, an innovative treatment called hip arthroscopy is a beneficial option.
Hip arthroscopy is a minimally invasive surgical procedure used to treat certain hip conditions. A surgeon performs arthroscopy by making an incision in the hip that is about one centimeter long. They then insert an arthroscope, a tiny camera that sends video to a nearby monitor. The surgeon uses this video to identify where the hip joint is damaged. They then make a series of other small incisions through which they insert specialized tools to repair the joint.
This method takes no more than two hours and reduces trauma to the hip tissue and recovery time. It is less painful than traditional hip surgery. Often, this simple procedure can prevent or delay the need for hip replacement.
Surgeons and patients alike prefer it for these reasons. Athletes especially appreciate the quick recovery, and many return to their same level of performance within four months.
Hip arthroscopy is not suitable for every hip injury. Among athletes, it is most likely used to treat:
…Labral tears, or rips in the collagen ring in the socket of your pelvic bone.
…Chondral flaps, when cartilage in the hip joint separates from the bone.
…Ligamentum tears where the ligament between the femoral head and hip socket tears.
…Femoroacetabular impingement, or FAI, which is a condition where bone spurs occur on the femoral head or pelvic bone and reduce mobility.
Like most sports injuries, these are all caused by trauma to the hip joint either due to a one-time accident or long-term overuse. Older athletes are more likely to suffer hip injuries, but these can strike athletes of any age or skill level.
Unfortunately, many misunderstandings about hip injuries contribute to the perpetuation of these conditions. If you play a sport, even just casually, and begin to experience chronic hip pain that does not improve with home treatments, you should consult with your physician.
When you see a doctor about hip pain, they will perform a physical examination and order some kind of medical imaging to determine a diagnosis. From there, they will decide on a course of treatment.
Before trying hip arthroscopy, your physician may refer you to a physical therapist. As an athlete, it is most beneficial for you to work with a sports physical therapist. They can create a custom strength and conditioning plan that correlates to your sport and your injury. Following this plan will rule out any other causes of your hip pain and help ease whatever condition you were diagnosed with. In some cases, physical therapy can resolve your pain without the need for surgery.
If you do go on to have hip arthroscopy, physical therapy also will be an essential part of your recovery. Again, your sports physical therapist will guide you through exercises meant to strengthen and stabilize your hip to aid recuperation and restore its function and performance so you can return to your sport pain free.
No athlete wants to hear the words “hip surgery,” but if you are a candidate for hip arthroscopy, rest assured that this simple procedure paired with physical therapy is very effective at treating multiple painful conditions without keeping you from your sport for long.
At True Sports, we’re sports focused because you’re sports focused. The best physical therapists in Baltimore and Maryland provide the highest level of sports physical therapy and expertise you need to get back to your sport. With six convenient state-of-the-art locations to choose from, any athlete who takes their rehab seriously can get awesome care and extraordinary results.
Select your location and schedule an appointment, and have True Sports get you back to your team. For questions about insurance or self-pay rates, please call our office at (401) 946-1672.