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10-03-2013 | Physical rehabilitation | Article

Athletes achieve pre-injury sporting levels after keyhole hip surgery


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medwireNews: The majority of athletes are able to return to their chosen sport after hip arthroplasty for femoroacetabular impingement (FAI), achieving pre-injury levels of sporting activity.

In a prospective study of 80 athletes, half of whom were professional athletes, 72% had returned to their preferred sporting activity at 6 months, and 82% at 1 year. The mean time to return to sporting activities was 5.4 months.

"At 1 year after surgery we found a 2.6-fold improvement in the training time after surgery and a 3.2-fold increase in the time in competition," Richard Villar (Spire Cambridge Lea Hospital, UK) and colleagues report in Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research.

Up until now, most studies looking at recovery from hip arthroscopy for FAI in sportspeople have been retrospective and included only a small number of participants. They have also not included objective measures of hip or sporting activity.

In this study, 40 professional and 40 recreational athletes who underwent keyhole hip surgery between November 2009 and August 2010 were followed up for 1 year. The mean age of participants at the time of their surgery was 35.7 years; 63% were male.

Hip function and symptoms were assessed using the modified Harris hip score (mHHS) and nonarthritic hip score (NAHS). These measures showed continued improvement 1 year after surgery, but no difference was found between professional and recreational athletes.

However, professional athletes were able to return to their chosen sport significantly quicker than their nonprofessional counterparts, with mean return times of 4.2 and 6.8 months, respectively.

Furthermore, 78% of professional and 65% of recreational athletes had returned to their sport 6 months after surgery. Percentages achieving pre-injury levels of sporting activity at 1-year follow-up were 88% and 73%, respectively.

"The motivation to return to sports is multifactorial and the evidence is too limited to show if this is expected to be different for athletes in competitive sports as compared with those who do it just as a hobby," Villar et al observe.

"There is a trend that suggests professional athletes and recreational athletes have similar improvement in mHHS and NAHS and ability to return to their pre-injury level of sports. Professional athletes may return to sports sooner than recreational athletes," they add.

By Sara Freeman, medwireNews reporter

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