The prevalence of femoroacetabular impingement anatomy in Division 1 aquatic athletes who tread water

Joanna L. Langner, Marianne S. Black, James Mackay, Kimberly E. Hall, Marc R. Safran, Feliks Kogan, Garry E. Gold

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Abstract Femoroacetabular impingement (FAI) is a disorder that causes hip pain and disability in young patients, particularly athletes. Increased stress on the hip during development has been associated with increased risk of cam morphology. The specific forces involved are unclear, but may be due to continued rotational motion, like the eggbeater kick. The goal of this prospective cohort study was to use magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to identify the prevalence of FAI anatomy in athletes who tread water and compare it to the literature on other sports. With university IRB approval, 20 Division 1 water polo players and synchronized swimmers (15 female, 5 male), ages 18–23 years (mean age 20.7 ± 1.4), completed the 33-item International Hip Outcome Tool and underwent non-contrast MRI scans of both hips using a 3 Tesla scanner. Recruitment was based on sport, with both symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals included. Cam and pincer morphology were identified. The Wilcoxon Signed-Rank/Rank Sum tests were used to assess outcomes. Seventy per cent (14/20) of subjects reported pain in their hips yet only 15% (3/20) sought clinical evaluation. Cam morphology was present in 67.5% (27/40) of hips, while 22.5% (9/40) demonstrated pincer morphology. The prevalence of cam morphology in water polo players and synchronized swimmers is greater than that reported for the general population and at a similar level as some other sports. From a clinical perspective, acknowledgment of the high prevalence of cam morphology in water polo players and synchronized swimmers should be considered when these athletes present with hip pain.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)233–241
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Hip Preservation Surgery
Issue number2
Early online date26 Mar 2020
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2020

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