Physical Therapy Improves Outcomes After Hip Impingement Surgery

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Hip impingement, femoracetabular impingement, is a common source of pain for patients.  Much research is needed on this more recent diagnosis secondary to the high rates of impingement found in pain free athletes.  In addition, more research is needed on the comparison of conservative versus surgical management of the condition.  Patient's undergoing arthroscopic surgery to resurface the joint and remove the bony impingement often are prescribed a formal post operative Physical Therapy program.  A recent randomized, controlled trial compared the effectiveness of this program to a general, unsupervised exercise program.

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Bennell and colleagues in the British Medical Journal compared these two programs in 30 patients who underwent surgery for hip impingement (2017).  The Physical Therapy group included 1 pre operative and 6 post operative sessions focused on manual therapy and progressive exercise.  The control group did not receive post operative rehabilitation.  The authors reported a superior recovery for the patients in the PT group at 14 weeks post operatively, but these changes were insignificant at 6 months.  Similar to other post operative Physical Therapy trials, PT has been shown to accelerate the recovery of patients undergoing surgery by allowing them to return to activities sooner than patients not receiving the same care.