HFSS Logo A hip condition commonly known as femoro-acetabular impingement (FAI) or hip impingement seems to be linked with sports hernia. A groundbreaking study suggests that patients suffering from FAI are at a heightened risk for sports hernia. The currently available treatment for sports hernia may be surgery.

As a part of the investigation, scientists assessed the records of professional athletes who underwent arthroscopic surgery at HSS for symptomatic FAI between April 2005 and April 2010. The group of 38 volunteers included 9 baseball players, 13 football players, 8 hockey players, 5 soccer players, 2 basketball players, and 1 skater. Patients were made to provide all the retrospective data about prior athletic sports hernia surgery, ability to return to play, and duration until return to play.

“If individuals have symptoms of athletic pubalgia otherwise known as sports hernia, doctors should carefully assess their hip joint to make sure there is not an underlying mechanical problem in the hip that may be the bigger problem in the overall function of the athlete,” remarked Bryan Kelly, M.D., co-director of the Center for Hip Pain and Preservation at Hospital for Special Surgery who led the study. “If patients present with both sports hernia and femoro-acetabular impingement symptoms, you have to consider what the order of treatment should be or whether you should just treat one.”

It was observed that 32 percent of the athletes had previously undergone surgery for their hernia and none of them were able to return to their previous level of competition with the hernia surgery alone. One of the participants was subjected to hernia surgery together with the FAI surgery. 39 percent patients registered hernia symptoms that resolved with FAI surgery alone and 36 of 38 patients were able to return to their previous level of play. All 12 patients that had both hernia and FAI surgery were allegedly capable of returning to professional competition. On an average, athletes reportedly returned to their sport 5.9 months after arthroscopic surgery.

The study was presented at the American Orthopedic Society for Sports Medicine 2011 Specialty Day meeting, held February 19 in San Diego.