Athletic Hip Injuries
Story by Jennifer Ale-Ebfahim
Treating athletic hip conditions can be difficult unless accurately diagnosed, which is why it is important to consult with a Fellowship Trained Sports Medicine Hip Specialist. Hip arthroscopy offers a treatment option for athletic hip injuries that used to be under-recognized including labral tears, chondral injuries, and instability. Patients used to see multiple physicians to finally arrive at the correct diagnosis.
The mechanism of injury is as varied as the sport in which the athlete participates. Rapid acceleration, deceleration, cutting, pivoting, and twisting are often implicated. In general, hip disorders can be due to a single traumatic event or develop over time. Athletes who participate in high contact and/or collision sports may not be able to recall a specific episode that led to their symptoms. However, hip injuries do not always have to be associated with a specific event; but rather, damage can occur due to cycles of wear over time.
Patients may note symptoms including but not limited to:
- Catching or popping
- Deep hip or groin pain
- Difficulty running on uneven surfaces
- Trouble sitting for prolonged periods
- History of groin strain
Treatment of many hip conditions start with conservative options including anti-inflammatories, physical therapy, and injections. Hip arthroscopy is considered for some conditions when symptoms persist despite conservative management.
Hip Arthroscopy involves using a small video camera and inserting into the hip joint. Orthopedic surgeon Dr. Megan Mayer is then able to view the extent of the injury and the damage. She then inserts the instruments needed to repair the damage through other small incisions. She uses small tools to repair the labrum and tissue, recontour bone, and remove debris or inflammation. Once the surgery is complete, only a few sutures are needed to close the incisions.
Patients are given specific instructions about activity and rehabilitation. There is usually a short period of brace wear and crutch use. Physical Therapy is prescribed to assist patients in restoring hip function and strength, and ultimately, returning to athletics.
Conditions that can be addressed with Hip Arthroscopy:
- Torn labrum: The labrum lines the outer edge of the “socket” or acetabulum. Labral tears can be repaired arthroscopically.
- Bony impingement: Recontouring underlying bony anatomy to decrease contact pressure and pain.
- Cartilage injury: Defects in cartilage can be evaluated and addressed.
- Loose bodies: Clearance of bone chips or torn cartilage debris causing hip pain and decreased motion.
- Adhesions: Adhesions are areas of built-up scar tissue that can limit movement and cause pain
- Torn tendons: Tendon tears can occur in different areas around the hip causing pain and dysfunction.
- Synovitis and Bursitis: Removal of portions of inflamed synovium (joint lining) and bursae (fluid sacs that reduce friction) can help to decrease the patient’s symptoms.
- Snapping tendons: Some tendons around the hip can snap painfully. These can often be treated arthroscopically.
- Instability: Abnormal increased movement of the hip joint.
- Evaluation and diagnosis: Patients with unexplained pain, swelling, stiffness, and instability in the hip that is unresponsive to conservative treatment may undergo hip arthroscopy for evaluation and diagnosis of their condition. Often, injections will be used to narrow down the hip as a source of the pain prior to surgery.
MEGAN MAYER, M.D., IS A FELLOWSHIP TRAINED, BOARD CERTIFIED ORTHOPEDIC SURGEON SPECIALIZING IN HIP AND KNEE ARTHROSCOPIC PROCEDURES, AS WELL AS SPORTS MEDICINE. SHE EMPLOYS THE MOST CURRENT TREATMENT TECHNIQUES TO ALLEVIATE PAIN AND RESTORE FUNCTION AND AN ACTIVE LIFESTYLE FOR HER PATIENTS. DR. MAYER IS A LEE’S SUMMIT NATIVE WHO GRADUATED WITH HONORS FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI-KANSAS CITY SCHOOL OF MEDICINE, KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI. SHE COMPLETED ORTHOPAEDIC SURGERY RESIDENCY AT THE CAMPBELL CLINIC THROUGH THE UNIVERSITY OF TENNESSEE HEALTH SCIENCE CENTER IN MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE. SHE HAS ALSO COMPLETED A SPORTS MEDICINE FELLOWSHIP AT METHODIST SPORTS MEDICINE AFFILIATED WITH INDIANA UNIVERSITY IN INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA. IN ADDITION, SHE HAS ACQUIRED SPECIALIZED TRAINING IN HIP ARTHROSCOPY THROUGH UNIVERSITY HOSPITALS CLEVELAND MEDICAL CENTER IN CLEVELAND, OHIO.