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Hip pain in sports people.

Updated: Sep 17, 2020

Hip pain is not just a problem for seniors. Elite athletes such as Andy Murray can be struck down with hip pain which can affect their ability to play the sport they love.

A common hip injury especially in sports people is Femoracetabular Impingement or FAI.

What is FAI?

The hip is a ball and socket joint which moves on each other to produce movement. If there is any alteration in the shape of the ball or the socket, irritation of the hip and pain can be experienced during motion of the hip joint. It is premature contact of the ball (femur) and the socket (acetabulum) which causes pain.

What are the signs and symptoms?

The most common symptoms of FAI is pain located in the hip and groin region when playing sports especially AFL, tennis and gymnastics. Some patients may report pain to the back, buttock and/or thigh. Other symptoms include stiffness, loss of movement of the hip, locking, clicking and feeling of ‘giving way’.

Activities commonly reported as increasing pain include movement at end range of motion, prolonged sitting, twisting, sitting cross legs, end range squat and climbing steps.

A Physiotherapist is able to diagnose a FAI through testing the hip joint for reproduction of pain and stiffness and review imaging findings on X-ray which may suggest abnormal shape of the hip joint.

What is the treatment for FAI?

FAI is a complex condition and suitable treatments are conservative care, rehabilitation and arthroscopic or open surgery.

An initial trial of non-operative conservative management is indicated for patients as the first line of treatment which include education, watchful waiting and lifestyle changes. Treatment with a Physiotherapist includes manual therapy for pain relief, exercise to improve hip stability, neuromuscular control, strength, range motion and movement patterns.

With surgery, hip arthroscopy is the most common procedure to improve the shape of the ball and/or socket and repair damaged tissue. After surgery, patients are referred to Physiotherapy for rehabilitation to return to a high level of function. Failure to respond to arthroscopic surgery with rehabilitation may result in further surgical options being explored – similar to Andy Murray’s story!

Do you suffer from hip pain?

We have Sports Physiotherapists available at WA Health Group here to help you at our Queensgate Centre, Canning Vale clinic. Expect from attending an appointment at WA Health Group:

  • Diagnosis of your condition

  • Treatment options

  • Timelines for return to sport and function

  • Prevention exercises to perform long term

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