The Athlete’s Hip: Simplifying Evaluation, Treatment, and Return to Sport

The Athlete’s Hip can be a complicated issue for sports medicine professionals and athletes alike… Do you want to learn how to accurately and efficiently evaluate and treat this population?

Currently scheduling for 2018/19, see below for information regarding the course and learn if you want to host a course!

Description:

Hip pathology is an often under-appreciated and misunderstood problem for clinicians and athletes alike. As intra-articular and extra-articular hip pain has become more prominent, surgical procedures have increased exponentially, but examination and conservative management have unfortunately lagged behind.

This two-day course will delve into evidence-based evaluation, conservative management, and return to sport of athletes presenting with hip pain. Through lecture and lab sessions, you will learn how to evaluate and treat athletes presenting with intra-articular (femoroacetabular impingement syndrome, acetabular labral pathology, and ligamentum teres pathology) and extra-articular pathology (sacroiliac joint, extra-articular impingement, athletic pubalgia, piriformis syndrome, proximal hamstring pathology, and greater trochanteric pain syndrome).

By simplifying the evaluation and management of these conditions, at the conclusion of this course, clinician will be more confident in determining underlying pathology, appropriate management, need for surgical consult, and safe return to sport.

Presenter:

John Snyder, PT, DPT, OCS, CSCS

Objectives:

Upon completion of this course, participants will be able to:

  • Understand the complexity of pain and its impact on hip pathology
  • Understand the impact of femoroacetabular biomechanics on hip and concomitant LE pathology and injury risk
  • Be able to accurately assess for red flags (avascular necrosis, femoral stress fracture, and inguinal hernia) and referral from proximal regions
  • Be able to accurately and efficiently evaluate extra-articular and intra-articular hip pathology
  • Be able to screen for and determine the need for surgical intervention
  • Understand pathology dependent and region dependent manual therapy and exercise progression for hip pathology
  • Progression of LE exercise and end-stage rehabilitation principles
  • Be able to determine psychosocial, functional testing, and pathology specific factors to determine safe and efficient return to sport

Schedule

Day 1

09:00 – 09:30 Introduction & Pain Science
09:30 – 10:15 Impact of hip pathology and biomechanics on movement
10:15 – 11:00 Screening of Pelvic/Hip Region (Lab/Lecture)
11:00 – 11:15 Break
11:15 – 12:15 Examination of Intra-articular Pathology (Lecture)
12:30 – 13:30 Lunch
13:30 – 14:30 Examination of Intra-articular Pathology (Lab)
14:30 – 15:15 Examination of Extra-articular Pathology (Lecture)
15:15 – 15:30 Break
15:30 – 16:00 Examination of Extra-articular Pathology (Lab)
16:00 – 17:00 Where does surgery fit in?

Day 2

09:00 – 10:00 Epidemiology of Conservative and Surgical Interventions
10:00 – 10:45 Treatment of Intra-articular hip pathology (Lab/Lecture)
10:45 – 11:00 Break
11:00 – 12:00 Treatment of Extra-articular hip pathology (Lab/Lecture)
12:00 – 13:00 Lunch
13:00 – 14:00 End-stage Rehabilitation Considerations
14:00 – 15:30 Return to Sport Determination (Lecture/Lab)
15:30 – 15:45 Final Comments/Conclusion

Scheduled Dates

I am currently scheduling for 2018-2019. Please contact me if you are interested in hosting The Athlete’s Hip or Management of the Ice Hockey Athlete at your facility.

Hip Pain: Return to Sport Considerations

Pre-arthritic hip pain is a common occurrence among athletes, especially those competing in ice hockey1 and field-based team sports (soccer, rugby, and football).2 While this area receives less attention than knee or shoulder injuries, current research is beginning to improve diagnosis and treatment of both intra-articular and extra-articular hip pathology. But, what about return to sport?

What the Literature Says

Determining an athlete’s readiness to return to sport is complicated. The decision with regards to hip pathology is even more convoluted due to the lack of evidence. Most literature discusses outcomes following arthroscopic surgery, and only a few studies outline the proposed benefit of conservative management.3

The available literature suggests that surgery for femoroacetabular impingement is beneficial in a symptomatic population, with 87% of patients returning to sport and 82% returning to previous level of competition.4 On the other hand, no randomized controlled studies adequately compare conservative and surgical management.5 Unfortunately, at this point the research tends to relate only to reported patient satisfaction, subjective questionnaires, and self-reported return to sport.6

How Do We Determine Return to Sport?

Unlike ACL reconstruction, hip injury lacks sufficient evidence to support return to sport guidelines. According to the 2016 Consensus Statement on Return to Sport, clinicians should combine information from a biological, psychological, and social standpoint.7 These factors include:

  • Health risk based on the athlete’s specific injury (subjective and objective measures)
  • Activity risk of returning to sport (type of sport, competition level, etc.)
  • Risk tolerance (pressure, fear of re-injury, etc.)

The StAART Framework (pictured below) proposed by Shrier and colleagues sums up this approach.8 It allows the clinician to comprehend and address all areas impacted by an individual’s readiness to return to sport.

MC020-205 Starrt Framework Chart_v03

Functional Testing Considerations

A recent systematic review conducted by Kivlan and colleagues demonstrated that several tests are reliable and valid when determining return to sport after hip injuries:9

  • Single-leg Stance
  • Deep Squat
  • Single-leg Squat
  • Star Excursion Balance Test (SEBT) / Y-Balance Test

These tests have appropriate validity and reliability but no solid cut-points, so findings should be interpreted on a patient-specific basis by considering their limb symmetry index during these tasks. Significant increase in medial–lateral sway and worse anterior–posterior control during a dynamic single-leg squat task in individuals with pre-arthric hip pain supports the use of a single-leg squat assessment.10

The modified star excursion balance test (also known as the Lower Quarter Y-Balance Test)  has been successful in identifying asymmetry and impaired proximal stability in many conditions. Recently, Johansson and colleagues performed the first study to determine the criterion and divergent validity of the SEBT in individuals with femoroacetabular impingement11. They determined that SEBT performance in the posterolateral and posteromedial directions had high to moderate criterion validity in relation to the HAGOS subscales for pain intensity and symptoms. Additionally, the posterolateral direction and ADL function showed high to moderate criterion validity. Finally and most importantly, the SEBT showed adequate divergent validity and could successfully differentiate between healthy individuals and individuals diagnosed with FAI.

Several recent studies have investigated if hop testing is appropriate in this population. Kivlan and colleagues evaluated the difference in hop testing (cross-over reach test, medial triple hop test, lateral triple hop test, and cross-over hop test) between the involved and uninvolved hip in dancers with hip pathology.12 All tests demonstrated excellent reliability (0.89 – 0.96); however, only the medial triple hop test showed significant difference between the two limbs with the non-involved limb achieving 17.8 cm more distance than the involved limb.

More recently, Kivlan and colleagues investigated the hop performance between dancers with clinically diagnosed femoroacetabular impingement and an asymptomatic control group. This study found a significant difference of approximately 50 cm when comparing the performance of the FAI group to the asymptomatic control group during both the medial triple hop test and the lateral triple hop test:13

table-remake

Further supporting the use of hop and dynamic balance activities, findings from another recent study determined that following arthroscopic hip surgery and concomitant rehabilitation, patients demonstrated > 90% limb symmetry index in the performance of a single-leg squat test, single-leg vertical jump, single-leg hop for distance, and single-leg side hop.14 While this information shows that we can achieve a LSI that is often used in return to sport of athletes post-ACL reconstruction, functional testing should be used with caution when translating it to a population of athletes with hip pain.

Continue with Caution

In the absence of definitive return to sport criteria, the clinician must focus on the tissue health (the load the tissue can absorb before injury), individual tissue stresses imposed by the athlete’s chosen sport and competition level, and any pertinent psychosocial factors (fear of re-injury).

Return to sport testing should be considered with caution as little evidence is available for this patient population.

References:

1. Lerebours F, Robertson W, Neri B, Schulz B, Youm T, Limpisvasti O. Prevalence of Cam-Type Morphology in Elite Ice Hockey Players. Am J Sports Med. 2016 Jan 28. pii: 0363546515624671. [Epub ahead of print]

2. Gerhardt MB, Romero AA, Silvers HJ, Harris DJ, Watanabe D, Mandelbaum BR. The Prevalence of Radiographic Hip Abnormalities in Elite Soccer Players. American Journal of Sports Medicine. 2012;40(3):584-588. doi:10.1177/0363546511432711.

3. Wall PD, Fernandez M, Griffin D, Foster N. Nonoperative Treatment for Femoroacetabular Impingement: A Systematic Review of the Literature. PMRJ. March 2013:1-9. doi:10.1016/j.pmrj.2013.02.005.

4. Casartelli NC, Leunig M, Maffiuletti NA, Bizzini M. Return to sport after hip surgery for femoroacetabular impingement: a systematic review. British Journal of Sports Medicine. 2015;49(12):819-824. doi:10.1136/bjsports-2014-094414.

5. Reiman MP, Thorborg K, Hölmich P. Femoroacetabular Impingement Surgery Is on the Rise—But What Is the Next Step? Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy. 2016;46(6):406-408. doi:10.2519/jospt.2016.0605.

6. Sim Y, Horner NS, de SA D, Simunovic N, Karlsson J, Ayeni OR. Reporting of non-hip score outcomes following femoroacetabular impingement surgery: a systematic review. J Hip Preserv Surg. 2015;2(3):224-241. doi:10.1093/jhps/hnv048.

7. Ardern CL, Glasgow P, Schneiders A, et al. 2016 Consensus statement on return to sport from the First World Congress in Sports Physical Therapy, Bern. British Journal of Sports Medicine. May 2016. doi:10.1136/bjsports-2016-096278.

8. Shrier I. Strategic Assessment of Risk and Risk Tolerance (StARRT) framework for return-to-play decision-making. British Journal of Sports Medicine. 2015; 49: 1311–15.

9. Kivlan BR, Martin RL. Functional Performance Testing of the Hip in Athletes: A Systematic Review for Reliability and Validity. International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy. 2012;7(4):402-412.

10. Freke MD, Kemp J, svege I, Risberg MA, Semciw A, Crossley KM. Physical impairments in symptomatic femoroacetabular impingement: a systematic review of the evidence. British Journal of Sports Medicine. June 2016. doi:10.1136/bjsports-2016-096152.

11. Johnansson AC, et al. The Star Excursion Balance Test: Criterion and divergent validity on patients with femoral acetabular impingement. Manual Therapy. 2016; 26(C): 104-109. doi:10.1016/j.math.2016.07.015.

12. Kivlan BR, Carcia CR, Clemente FR, Phelps AL, Martin RL. Reliability and validity of functional performance tests in dancers with hip dysfunction. International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy. 2013 Aug;8(4):360-9.

13. Kivlan BR, et al. Comparison of Range of Motion, Strength, and Hop Test Performance of dancers with and without a Clinical Diagnosis of Femoroacetabular Impingement. International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy. 2016; 11(4): 527-535.

14. Tijssen M, van Cingel R, de Visser E, Sanden der MN-V. A clinical observational study on patient-reported outcomes, hip functional performance and return to sports activities in hip arthroscopy patients. Physical Therapy in Sport. 2016;20(C):45-55. doi:10.1016/j.ptsp.2015.12.004.

Differential Diagnosis: Athletic Pubalgia

In the next installment of the Differential Diagnosis Series for MedBridge Education, we are going to take a look at the difficult and complex diagnosis of Athletic Pubalgia…

Pathophysiology and Anatomy

Athletic pubalgia is a catch-all term for soft-tissue pathology in the groin, lower abdominal, pubic, and medial thigh regions. This pathology can be secondary to tendinopathies, osteitis pubis, posterior inguinal wall insufficiency, and nerve entrapments in the inguinal region.3

It can involve the following anatomical structures:3,4,8

  1. Rectus abdominis
  2. Rectus femoris
  3. Sartorius
  4. Internal oblique
  5. External oblique
  6. Transverse abdominal muscles/tendons/sheaths
  7. Inguinal ligament
  8. Adductor group of muscles (adductor longus, adductor brevis, adductor magnus)
  9. Gracilis
  10. Pectineus
  11. Iliopsoas
  12. Pubic symphysis
  13. Pubic ramus

Epidemiology

Athletic pubalgia is a common injury found in athletes and the general population alike.

Athletic pubalgia most commonly occurs in sports requiring cutting, pivoting or frequent acceleration/deceleration (ice hockey, football, rugby). Amongst field-based athletes (soccer, rugby, lacrosse, etc.), roughly 10% of injuries are due to groin pain,6 whereas these injuries account for approximately 2-5% of all sports medicine injuries.7 Chronic groin pain ranks as the fourth most common injury in the Rugby Federal Union.

In ice hockey, groin pain is an all too common occurrence as well. A retrospective case series over the course of six National Hockey League (NHL) seasons found a total of 617 groin/abdominal injuries, with a recurrence rate of 23.5%.1

Subjective Findings

Patients typically report the following symptoms:4

  1. Deep groin or abdominal-related pain with exertion, which is more proximal or intense than an adductor or iliopsoas strain
  2. Point tenderness at the superior-lateral pubis
  3. Pain is typically unilateral, but can advance to bilateral
  4. Pain is typically relieved upon rest, but returns with sports-related activities
  5. Pain is exacerbated by kicking, side-stepping, cutting, or sit-ups
  6. Some patients report pain with coughing and sneezing
  7. Males may report testicular pain

Objective Findings

As to the physical examination, the literature supports several findings:5

  1. A resisted sit-up or crunch with palpation of the inferolateral edge of the distal rectus abdominis may re-create symptoms
  2. The pubic tubercle and pubic symphysis are painful in up to 22% of patients upon palpation
  3. Tenderness to palpation of the proximal adductor musculature (adductor longus, gracilis, pectineus)
  4. Resisted adduction in flexion and extension may elicit discomfort
  5. Limited A/PROM (most often, hip internal rotation, external rotation, and abduction)3

Special Tests

As with most hip pathologies, special testing for athletic pubalgia is not robust enough to significantly change a clinician’s clinical reasoning with regards to diagnosis.

However, a systematic review with meta-analysis conducted by Reiman and colleagues9 has discovered three tests (see table below) that allow to rule in the condition with confidence. As to screening and ruling out the pathology, these tests do not provide enough information due to their low sensitivity and high negative likelihood ratios.

Source: Reiman and colleagues9

Risk Factors

Two recent systematic reviews discuss risk factors for developing athletic pubalgia in an athletic population (see details in a table below).

Previous injury to the groin region is the most predictive factor in developing this disorder.

Modifiable risk factors include reduced gluteal strength (adductor and abductor), which makes sense given the proposed mechanism of injury. Higher levels of competition and less sport-specific training have also been associated with higher incidence of groin pain.

Athletic Pubalgia and FAI

Although a diagnosis of athletic pubalgia is complicated, its presence does not prevent your patient from having any concomitant pathologies.

Econompoulos and colleagues performed a retrospective case series to determine the prevalence of femoroacetabular impingement in athletes undergoing surgical treatment for athletic pubalgia. They found radiographic evidence of FAI in at least one hip in 37 of 43 patients (86%).2

In a prospective case series by Weir et al., 94% of 34 athletes with long-standing adductor related pain had radiological findings consistent with femoroacetabular impingement.11

These findings speak to the need to fully investigate all logical differential diagnoses that may affect the patient’s plan of care or prognosis. Ruling in one condition with confidence, does not preclude that patient from having another condition that may contribute to their pain.

Athletic pubalgia should typically be considered a diagnosis of exclusion, as there are often concomitant diagnosable pathologies present. It is important to not only rule out FAI (as previously discussed), but also acetabular labral tears and other intra-articular disorders of the hip. The low back cannot be ignored either as it also has the ability to refer pain into this region. Once these other pathologies have been ruled out, knowing the epidemiology, risk factors, and specific special tests associated with AP can improve the accuracy of the clinical diagnosis.