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The Hip: Some facts

The hip is made of the acetabulum on the pelvis and the head of the thigh bone. The synovial, ball and socket joint, allows for multi-directional movement and it is designed for weight bearing and stability.  The three-strong ligaments to the hip are continuous to the outer layer of the capsule which provides support. The socket of the joint assists in holding the ball of the joint in place and is surrounded by a labrum.

Arthroscopy is used to diagnose and treat a wide range of hip problems. During hip arthroscopy, your surgeon inserts a small camera, called an arthroscope, into your hip joint. The camera displays pictures on a video monitor, and your surgeon uses these images to guide miniature surgical instruments.

Hip Arthroscopy The Facts:

  • Hip Arthroscopy started in the 1970’s, but became used as a diagnostic tool in the 1990’s
  • The arthroscopy initially had a bad reputation due to a lack of understanding of pathologies, poor knowledge of rehab expectations and poor patient selection.
  • For labral tears and femoracetabular impingement (FAI), hip arthroscopy is of use.
  • It can be shown as a diagnostic tool to also identify dysplasia
  • It is a minimally invasive technique, using two/ three portals
  • The arthroscopy has great outcomes when completed on the right patient at the right time.

Why are more Surgeons deciding not to operate?

  • The arthroscopy is the option when all other interventions have failed
  • Hips respond very well to Physiotherapy
  • Injections are now being chosen as a diagnostic tool
  • Injections allow for a ‘pain-free window’ in which patients can work hard in Physiotherapy

Post Op – What to expect?

  • A suggestion of crutches may be helpful, for a few days.
  • Exercise and activity is encouraged as long as pain allows
  • Occasionally a course of anti-inflammatories are optional to allow the hip to settle.

What would your rehabilitation involve?

The aim of Physiotherapy is to strengthen the stabilisers around the hip and pelvis, and address the biomechanical differences:

  • The strengthening of your gluteal muscles will be a large focus
  • Pilates is a great addition to Physiotherapy pre and post-op
  • Early mobilisation, for example using a bike would also be useful.
  • Rehab usually lasts 4 months before a return to sport.

    Article written by Larissa Christian, Chartered Physiotherapist