Background: The overhead athlete is at risk for shoulder and elbow injuries. However, the mechanics associated with overhead sports also place athletes at risk for hip injuries. Advancements in hip arthroscopy have identified femoroacetabular impingement (FAI) and instability as potential contributors to labral and chondral pathology in this athletic population.
Questions/purposes: We therefore determined whether hip function improves after arthroscopic treatment of FAI in overhead athletes and the rate at which overhead athletes returned to preinjury level of play.
Methods: We retrospectively identified high-level baseball and lacrosse players (varsity high school, collegiate, and professional) who underwent arthroscopic treatment for FAI. Thirty-four athletes with an average age of 21.4 years met study criteria. There were 16 baseball players and 18 lacrosse players. All patients completed modified Harris hip scores and were assessed for ability to return to preinjury level of play. The minimum followup was 12 months (average, 25 months; range 12-41 months).
Results: Mean modified Harris hip scores improved from 70 to 92. Thirty-three of 34 patients were able to return to preinjury level of sports participation.
Conclusions: Arthroscopic management of hip injuries in the high-level overhead throwing athlete can result in a high rate of return to play. Mechanical overload of the hip from impingement and secondary instability can have a substantial effect on hip function and may be the cause of deterioration in athletic performance in some cases.
Level of evidence: Level IV, therapeutic study. See Guidelines for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.