Arthroscopic correction of femoroacetabular impingement improves athletic performance in male athletes
Karen Mullins, Michael Hanlon, Patrick Carton
Purpose To measure the changes in athletic performance in athletes treated arthroscopically for femoroacetabular impinge–
ment and compare results to a matched controlled athletic cohort, over a 1-year period.
Methods Male athletes scheduled for arthroscopic correction of symptomatic FAI were recruited and tested (pre-operatively
and 1-year postsurgery) for measures of athletic performance which included acceleration (10-m sprint), change of direction
speed (CODS), squatting depth, and reactive strength index (RSI). The FAI group was compared to a matched, healthy, con–
trol group who were tested at baseline and 1year later with no disruption to their regular training or competition status; the
prevalence of anterior groin pain during testing in either group was recorded. Hip range of motion (ROM) was also measured
for both groups at baseline and at 1year in the FAI group to look for change following intervention.
Prior to surgery, the FAI group were slower than the control group (p < 0.001) for acceleration (3% slower) and
CODS (10% slower). At 1 year, 91% of the FAI group returned to full competition at an average time of 17weeks, while
substantial reductions in pain were also noted during acceleration (51–6%, p = 0.004), CODS (62–8%, p = 0.001), and squat
test (38–8%, p = 0.003). Significant improvements were seen in the FAI group for CODS (7%, p < 0.001) and squat depth
measures (6%, p = 0.004) from baseline to 1 year (significant time × group interaction effects were noted for these also).
The changes in performance in the control group over time were non-significant across all of the measures (n.s.). At 1-year
postsurgery, there were no statistically significant differences between the groups for any of the athletic measures. There was
a significant and clinically important improvement in range of hip motion in the FAI group at 1-year postsurgery (p < 0.05).
Symptomatic FAI causes substantial reductions in athletic performance compared to healthy competitors plac–
ing these athletes at a distinct performance disadvantage. The results from the current study demonstrate that arthroscopic
correction (including labral repair) in athletes with symptomatic FAI, reduces pain and restores athletic performance to a
level which is comparable to healthy athletes, at 1year.
Level of evidence II
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