Diagnosis and Treatment of Hip Girdle Pain in the Athlete

Heidi Prather, Abby Cheng

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Evaluation of an athlete's report of “hip pain” is challenging. Many conditions involving the pelvic girdle can present with overlapping pain distributions, and athletes often may have coexisting disorders. Appropriate evaluation requires thorough, systematic consideration of intra-articular hip disease, extra-articular local causes of hip pain, and referred pain from other musculoskeletal or even visceral sources. Although our understanding of intra-articular hip disorders has been greatly enhanced in recent decades through advances in hip arthroscopy, gaps still exist in our understanding of appropriate treatment, including effective nonsurgical protocols and when to consider surgical intervention. For instance, we have a better understanding of hip dysfunction related to structural changes that occur prior to the onset of arthritis, but we are also learning that correction of the structural changes does not always guarantee a correction of dysfunction and pain. Furthermore, athletes need instruction and guidance in retraining appropriate movement patterns after a surgical intervention. Risk stratification regarding which athletes need surgical intervention and what their needs are after specific surgical procedures remain undefined. In this review we will describe the differential diagnosis of hip and pelvic girdle pain in the athlete and then discuss how to use a history, physical examination, and appropriate imaging and diagnostic injections to arrive at a proper diagnosis. Lastly, a brief discussion is included of key concepts and controversies involved in treating some of the most common hip disorders experienced by athletes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S45-S60
JournalPM and R
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2016


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