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High rate of return to running after hip arthroscopy

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Most recreational and competitive runners return to running after arthroscopic hip surgery, a new study has found.

The research focused on 51 patients (23 men, 28 women) with femoroacetabular impingement (FAI), a condition in which extra bone grows along one or both of the bones that form the hip joint, giving the bones an irregular shape and causing them to rub together during movement. FAI is most commonly diagnosed in athletes who sustain repetitive flexion loading to their hip.

All of the patients in the study were recreational or competitive runners prior to developing the condition. They underwent arthroscopic hip surgery, a minimally invasive procedure during which a small camera is inserted into the hip joint guiding the surgeon to remove the bone growths.

Before surgery, the patients had stopped running due to pain. Within nine months of surgery, 49 patients (96%) had returned to running.

Patients who had stopped running for more than eight months prior to hip arthroscopy returned to running significantly more slowly than those who had stopped running closer to surgery. Increasing BMI was also associated with a slower return to running.

However, outcome and activity scores all improved significantly for patients after surgery, with female patients showing greater progress than males.

“Arthroscopy is a minimally invasive and effective treatment for FAI in runners,” said Dr David M. Levy, lead author of the study and an orthopaedic surgeon at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago.

The findings of the study were presented at last week’s annual meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS).