Many younger adults are now presenting with hip and groin pain, as teenagers, or in their twenties, thirties or forties. Often they have disabling symptoms, preventing them from playing sport, working, driving, or even doing everyday activities, quite often despite normal X-rays.
Until recently there had been very little to offer: we often couldn’t diagnose their problem and we had very few treatment options. Usually they received a vague diagnosis, like ‘wear and tear’ or ‘groin strain’, and were offered physiotherapy, analgesia, and in the worst cases, a hip resurfacing or replacement.
In the last few years there have been great advances in imaging and in techniques for hip-preserving surgery. We now understand many of the causes of pain in the young adult’s hip, can diagnose them, and have effective treatments for them. Therapeutic hip arthroscopy is the key technological development that has made joint preserving surgery of the hip a reality. Joint preserving surgery that corrects deformity and repairs natural tissue is now a real option for younger people with hip disease, avoiding the risks and disadvantages of joint replacement.
Most patients have experienced symptoms for a long time before a diagnosis is made: on average new patients referred to the Hip Arthroscopy Clinic have had symptoms for about four years and have already seen six doctors and physiotherapists.