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Breakaway Hip: Insights on Ice Hockey Hip Injuries

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Breakaway Hip: Insights on Ice Hockey Hip Injuries

As the hockey playoffs heat up, players face not just their opponents, but also the challenge of staying healthy and injury-free. Victory can hinge on avoiding physical setbacks with incredible resilience on the ice. Let’s look at common hip injuries on the ice, and treatment options for players.

Common Ice Hockey Hip Injuries

Labral Tear: This is a tear in the cartilage that lines the socket of the hip joint, which helps to stabilize and cushion the joint. A labral tear can cause pain, stiffness, and a clicking or catching sensation in the hip. This occurs due to repetitive stress, trauma, or impingement in the hip joint.

Femoroacetabular Impingement (FAI): FAI is a condition where extra bone grows along one or both of the bones that form the hip joint. This extra bone causes abnormal contact between the hip bones, leading to pain and restricted movement. It's prevalent in hockey players due to repetitive hip flexion and rotation.

Sports Hernia: This is a tear or weakness in the muscles or tendons of the lower abdomen or groin, causing pain, swelling, and difficulty in performing certain movements. This can occur due to sudden twisting, turning, or sprinting motions that put a lot of stress on the abdominal wall.

Hip Pointer: This is a bruise or contusion on the iliac crest, which is the upper edge of the hip bone. It can cause pain, swelling, and difficulty in moving the hip or leg. Hip pointers typically occur due to a direct blow or impact to the hip area, such as from a fall, hit, or collision.

Hip Arthroscopy: A Effective Solution

Hip Arthroscopy is a minimally invasive surgical procedure that has become a game-changer for ice hockey players suffering from hip injuries. Utilizing specialized instruments, surgeons can identify and treat a wide range of hip conditions through tiny keyhole incisions. The arthroscope can be used to:

  • Repair the labrum: The labrum is a ring of cartilage that lines the hip socket. It can be torn due to injury or degeneration.
  • Smooth frayed edges of cartilage: Damaged articular cartilage can be smoothed out to reduce pain and improve joint function.
  • Trim bone spurs: Extra bone growth, often associated with femoroacetabular impingement (FAI), can be trimmed to prevent joint damage.
  • Remove inflamed tissues: Inflamed synovial tissue can be removed to alleviate pain and improve mobility.
  • Extract loose fragments of cartilage: These fragments can cause pain and joint locking if left inside the joint space.

The reduced trauma to surrounding tissues due to this minimally invasive procedure leads to quicker recovery times, less pain, and a faster return to the ice. Hip arthroscopy is a promising solution for returning to play if the hip injury requires surgical intervention. Great results can only be achieved if a player has a thorough understanding of their hip condition, and the treatment options available.

AUTHOR: Geoffrey Van Thiel, MD is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon specializing in sports medicine treatments of the hip, knee, and shoulder, with a focus on compassionate cutting edge care. Dr. Van Thiel’s commitment to athletics and an active lifestyle is evident in both his personal belief that activity leads to better health, and his involvement with the Chicago Blackhawks Medical Network, AHL Rockford IceHogs and US National Soccer Teams.

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