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   Hip arthroscopy is fast becoming one of the most popular procedures in sports medicine. New York Yankees star Alex Rodriguez and Olympic sprinter...

   Hip arthroscopy is fast becoming one of the most popular procedures in sports medicine. New York Yankees star Alex Rodriguez and Olympic sprinter Tyson Gay both had the surgery to fix a torn labrum and impingement. Both quickly returned to their respective sports.


   The most common hip problems treated with hip arthroscopy are femoroacetabular impingement (FAI) and tears of the hip labrum. FAI is a condition where the ball and socket of the hip don’t fit together well. Either the ball or the socket is misshapen or both have irregularities. 

   The labrum acts like an “O” ring around the hip socket and can be injured or torn due to FAI or other traumatic injuries to the hip, such as a fall. A torn labrum can cause severe groin pain in athletes.

   While many people associate hip pain with older people, hip problems can be a common issue in young athletes and can have a long-term impact on the health and mobility of the hip. 

   Chronic adolescent hip pain often strikes young athletes with structural abnormalities sooner than their less active counterparts, due to the stress their level of activity places on the hip. Such hip pain occurs in young men and women who place stress on their hips with sports (especially in dancers, hurdlers or baseball catchers) because their activities involve the hip moving beyond its normal constraints.

   Common symptoms of a hip injury include hip or groin pain with movement, snapping hip syndrome, inability to flex or rotate the hips without pain, hip pain when sitting, hip pain when going up stairs, and hip pain when picking something up off the ground.


   In the past, impingements and other hip injuries would end sports careers or stop people from being active because of the pain. But today physicians have more accurate diagnostic capabilities and improved treatments that make it possible for hip specialists to slow or halt the progression of degenerative hip disease, return patients to their chosen activities, and sometimes reduce the need for more extensive surgeries.

   With minimally-invasive hip arthroscopy, surgeons make small holes in the hip area. They then insert a camera and specialized instruments into these openings and perform the necessary procedures, such as removing loose cartilage, smoothing or repairing damaged tissue or trimming bones spurs. 

   Hip arthroscopy is an outpatient procedure, so patients typically return home the same day. Most people return to sports and other activities quickly, after a period of rehabilitation.

   If chronic hip pain is impacting your lifestyle, make an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon with expertise in hip arthroscopy. It’s important not to ignore the pain, because the conditions that cause hip pain can eventually lead to arthritis if left untreated. 

   For young athletes and people in their 40s and younger, the minimally invasive hip arthroscopy can stop hip pain and eliminate the need for more extensive surgery later in life.

Hunter Greene, M.D. is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon with Summit Orthopedic Specialists in Carmichael.

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