I've had to give up my dream of being an NHL hockey player because I have a hip problem called femoroacetabular impingement. I've learned as much as I can about this condition. I'm planning to have surgery to fix it. What are my chances of at least being able to play hockey for fun or in the local league?
Femoroacetabular impingement (FAI) occurs in the hip joint. Impingement refers to some portion of the soft tissue around the hip socket getting pinched or compressed. Femoroacetabular tells us the impingement is occurring where the femur (thigh bone) meets the acetabulum (hip socket). There are several different types of impingement. They differ slightly depending on what gets pinched and where the impingement occurs.
The postoperative recovery period may include a specific rehabilitation program. It depends on what the surgeon did. A simple debridement (removing loose or frayed cartilage) requires less postoperative caution than reshaping and repair procedure. The concern is for regaining hip motion, maintaining joint stability, and preventing complications.
The more complex procedures will require the athlete to keep weight off the hip and avoid twisting motions for at least a month. This can be accomplished by using crutches. The athlete is gradually allowed to return to light activities at first. Avoiding twisting motions is enforced for a full three months. It will be six months or more before the athlete is allowed to return to full sports participation.
Studies done so far show that up to 90 per cent of athletes with femoroacetabular impingement repaired surgically get back to their previous level of sports participation. That includes college athletes, as well as professional and recreational athletes. With longer follow-up, other studies have shown that this number dwindles over time.
There is some evidence that arthroscopic surgery yields better results than open surgery. More study is needed to confirm this is true and perhaps identify which athletes would do better with arthroscopic versus open surgery.
Your surgeon will be able to give you a better idea what to expect for short-term and long-term results after he or she has a chance to perform the surgery. Follow the post-operative recommendations carefully but expect a full recovery and a chance to get back on the ice.
J. W. Thomas Byrd, MD. Femoroacetabular Impingement in Athletes, Part II: Treatment and Outcomes. In Sports Health. September/October 2010. Vol. 2. No. 5. Pp. 403-409.
*Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.