Postoperative Rehabilitation After Hip Arthroscopy: A Search for the Evidence

in Journal of Sport Rehabilitation

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Scott W. Cheatham
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Keelan R. Enseki
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Morey J. Kolber
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Hip arthroscopy has become an increasingly popular option for active individuals with recalcitrant hip pain. Conditions that may be addressed through hip arthroscopy include labral pathology, femoral acetabular impingement, capsular hyperlaxity, ligamentum teres tears, and the presence of intra-articular bodies. Although the body of literature examining operative procedures has grown, there is a paucity of evidence specifically on the efficacy of postoperative rehabilitation programs. To date, there are no systematic reviews that have evaluated the available evidence on postoperative rehabilitation.


To evaluate the available evidence on postoperative rehabilitation programs after arthroscopy of the hip joint.

Evidence Acquisition:

A search of the PubMed, CINAHL, SPORTDiscus, ProQuest, and Google Scholar databases was conducted in January 2014 according the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines for reporting systematic reviews.

Evidence Synthesis:

Six studies met the inclusion criteria and were either case series or case reports (level 4 evidence) that described a 4- or 5-phase postoperative rehabilitation program. The available evidence supports a postoperative period of restricted weight bearing and mobility; however, the specific interventions in the postoperative phases are variable with no comparison trials.


This review identified a paucity of evidence on postoperative rehabilitation after hip arthroscopy. Existing reports are descriptive in nature, so the superiority of a particular approach cannot be determined. One can surmise from existing studies that a 4- to 5-stage program with an initial period of weight-bearing and mobility precautions is efficacious in regard to function, patient satisfaction, and return to competitive-level athletics. Clinicians may consider such a program as a general guideline but should individualize treatment according to the surgical procedure and surgeon guidelines. Future research should focus on comparative trials to determine the effect of specific postoperative rehabilitation designs.

Cheatham is with the Div of Kinesiology, California State University Dominguez Hills, Carson, CA. Enseki is with the Dept of Physical Therapy, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA. Kolber is with the Boca Raton Orthopaedic Group, Boca Raton, FL.

Address author correspondence to Scott Cheatham at
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