After a very long and unsuccessful attempt at treating my snapping hip syndrome, I finally decided to have surgery to release the hip tendons on both sides. I'm hoping to be through rehab by the time soccer season starts again. How long does it take to get my full strength and motion back?
Some athletes are bothered by a painful snapping at the hip when moving the leg from a flexed to an extended position. There can be a variety of reasons why this happens. Some occur outside the joint such as when a tendon rubs over a bony prominence. Others are caused by something going on inside the joint. It could be a tear in the labrum (rim of cartilage around the hip socket) or a loose fragment inside the joint.
The most common cause is the iliopsoas tendon rubbing over a bony bump called the iliopectineal eminence. Many times there is also a fraying or a tear of the labrum contributing to the problem.
Whatever the cause, treatment is needed to help the athlete get back into action. At first, conservative care with rest, stretching exercises, and antiinflammatory drugs is advised. A nonoperative approach should be tried for at least six months. Sometimes a steroid injection with a numbing agent into the iliopsoas bursa helps.
When none of these approaches reduces or relieves painful snapping symptoms, then surgery may be advised. The surgeon can partially or fully cut the iliopsoas tendon away from the bone. The tendon retracts and reattaches to the nearby soft tissue.
Recovery and rehab takes at least 10 to 12 weeks. At first, you won't be able to bend the hip. This makes you unstable when trying to walk or use coordinated movements of the legs. This new symptom will last two to four weeks until the tendon reattaches and heals in its new location. You'll be given some simple exercises to do at first.
You will probably work with a physical therapist who will supervise how much weight you put on the leg(s), how to use crutches or canes, and a progression of leg control exercises. Eventually stretching exercises will be included, then coordination exercises, and finally, sport-specific movements. When you can control your motion, have 90 per cent strength, and can handle impact activities, then you will be released to return to the soccer field.
Scott A. Anderson, MD, and James S. Keene, MD. Results of Arthroscopic Iliopsoas Tendon Release in Competitive and Recreational Athletes. In The American Journal of Sports Medicine. December 2008. Vol. 36. No. 12. Pp. 2363-2371.
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