Public Release: 

High rate of return to running following arthroscopic hip surgery

American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons

Ninety-six percent of patients who were recreational or competitive runners prior to developing hip bone spurs returned to their sport within nine months of arthroscopic surgery, according to research presented today at the 2017 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS).

Bones spurs on the hip joint, or femoracetabular impingement (FAI), is a common condition in which there is extra growth along the bones, giving the bones an irregular shape and causing them to rub together during movement. Over time, the friction can damage the soft tissue surrounding the hip joint causing pain or a limp, which limits activity. Arthroscopic hip surgery is a minimally invasive procedure during which a small camera, called an arthroscope, is inserted into the hip joint guiding the surgeon to remove the bone growths.

In the study, researchers retrospectively reviewed the records of 51 FAI patients (23 men and 28 women) who had undergone hip arthroscopy and identified themselves as recreational or competitive runners. Patient outcomes two years after arthroscopy were assessed using a running-specific questionnaire and common outcome and activity measurements.

The average age of patients was 27 years, and body mass index (BMI) was 24 kg/m2 (a patient with a BMI greater than 25 is considered overweight). Prior to surgery, patients had stopped running because of FAI pain for an average of 9 months.

Among the results:

  • After surgery, 49 patients (96 percent) returned to running at an average of 9 months after surgery.

  • Increasing BMI was associated with a slower return to running.

  • Patients who had stopped running for greater than eight months prior to hip arthroscopy returned to running significantly more slowly than those who had stopped running closer to surgery.

  • After two years, the mean running distance of patients had decreased significantly from an average of 10 miles per week to 6 miles.

  • Patient outcome and activity scores all improved significantly for patients after surgery, with females showing greater progress than males.

"Arthroscopy is a minimally invasive and effective treatment for FAI in runners," said David M. Levy, MD, lead author of the study and an orthopaedic surgeon at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago.

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