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Danielle Lovett Carter and Norelee Kennedy


Hip arthroscopy is a minimally invasive surgical procedure. Femoroacetabular impingement (FAI) is being increasingly recognized as a cause of hip pain in athletes and is a growing indication for arthroscopic surgery. Few studies have attempted to address patient views on outcome after arthroscopy, and no qualitative studies have been carried out to date.


To explore athletes' perceptions of rehabilitation outcome, the rehabilitative process, and return to sport and to gain insight into factors that affected this process.


A retrospective qualitative approach was adopted using semistructured interviews. Eight eligible participants were interviewed. Each had been treated with hip arthroscopy for FAI from September to November 2010. Data were audiotaped, transcribed verbatim, and analyzed using thematic analysis.


Three main themes emerged. (1) The ability to participate in sport; athletes were relatively satisfied with outcome despite some limitations in sporting ability. (2) Perceptions of hip problems; there was a lack of understanding and an association of hip problems with older people among the general public. (3) Athletes' perception of rehabilitation; athletes were dissatisfied with the rehabilitation and sought greater physiotherapy input.


Overall, athletes were relatively satisfied with their outcome 1 y after hip arthroscopy, despite some having to adapt their sporting activities. Key areas that need to be addressed in future research include factors affecting outcomes of hip arthroscopy, longer-term outcomes, perception of FAI among the public and health practitioners, and the development of a standardized evidence-based rehabilitation protocol.