Intra-articular Hip Injuries in National Basketball Association Players: A Descriptive Epidemiological Study

Orthop J Sports Med. 2022 Sep 19;10(9):23259671221122744. doi: 10.1177/23259671221122744. eCollection 2022 Sep.


Background: Since the most recent epidemiologic study of injuries in National Basketball Association (NBA) players was completed in 2012, the understanding and diagnosis of intra-articular hip injury has advanced.

Purpose: To report the epidemiology of intra- versus extra-articular hip injuries in NBA players with regard to missed games, risk factors for injury, and treatment types.

Study design: Cohort study; Level of evidence, 3.

Methods: The NBA injury database was queried for all reported hip and groin injuries from 2013 to 2017. The injuries were then divided into intra-articular and extra-articular types. Variables compared between injury types included player age, NBA tenure, season schedule (preseason or offseason), onset type, injury mechanism, roster position, games missed, time to return to play, and need for surgery.

Results: A total of 224 athletes sustaining 353 total hip pathologies were identified. Of these injuries, 216 (61.2%) were sustained during game competition and affected 156 (69.6%) of the athletes. Intra-articular injuries represented 39 (11.0%) cases and involved 36 (16.1%) players. The time to return to play was significantly longer after intra-articular versus extra-articular injury (44.6 ± 96.0 vs 11.8 ± 32.0 days; P = .03), and the number of games missed was significantly greater after intra-articular versus extra-articular injury (8.0 ± 18.7 vs 1.54 ± 4.9 games; P = .03). Patients with intra-articular hip injuries were more likely to undergo surgery (odds ratio, 5.5 [95% CI, 1.8-16.7]; P = .005). There was no statistically significant difference in the number of games missed due to surgery (35.2 ± 8.3 [intra-articular] vs 35.4 ± 11.6 [extra-articular]; P = .42) or nonoperative treatment (4.2 ± 3.4 [intra-articular] vs 1.3 ± 0.5 [extra-articular]; P = .11). Years of NBA tenure were not significantly different between intra-articular and extra-articular injuries (7.1 ± 3.7 vs 6.3 ± 4.0 years). For both types of hip injury, there was no correlation between player age and either days to return to play or number of games missed (R 2 = 0.014).

Conclusion: NBA players with intra-articular hip injuries underwent surgery more frequently and had a longer return-to-play time compared with those with extra-articular hip injuries. NBA tenure and player age were not correlated with the risk of developing hip injury or the need for surgery.

Keywords: FAI; FAIS; NBA; basketball; hip impingement; intra-articular hip.