Purpose: The purpose of this study is to evaluate the presence of clinical and radiological femoroacetabular impingement (FAI) in elite ice hockey players and compare it to a control group of non-athletes.
Methods: Forty participants (20 non-athletes and 20 elite ice hockey athletes) underwent an evaluation of their hip joint, including assessment of range of motion and special provocative impingement tests. Two musculoskeletal radiologists assessed MRIs completed on each participant for radiological findings associated with FAI, including alpha angle, acetabular version angle, acetabular depth, and/or a lateral centre edge angle, and findings of labral and cartilage degeneration. A comparative analysis of the clinical and radiological findings was subsequently completed.
Results: There was a significant difference in the radiological CAM impingement measured by mean alpha angle between both groups (non-athletes: 43.2 degrees, SD 9.7; and athletes: 54.2 degrees, SD 12 (p = 0.003)). There were no statistically significant differences between the groups upon evaluating PINCER impingement. There were no statistically significant differences in clinical examination findings between both groups.
Conclusion: MRI evidence suggests that CAM impingement is more common in the elite ice hockey athlete in comparison with non-athletes. However, as this is a pilot study examining findings in asymptomatic individuals, there is a need for a longitudinal prospective cohort study. In keeping with this, sufficient, long-term follow-up is required to assess at what point, if any, these subjects with radiological findings become symptomatic.