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A medical professional speaks to St. Louis Game Time regarding torn hip labrums

Thank you to Dr. Struan H. Coleman for his time answering questions regarding hip injuries.

NHL: MAR 30 Blues at Canucks Photo by Devin Manky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

As a disclaimer, this article is NOT in regards to Marco Scandella in particular or his specific injury/medical case. This is an interview with a doctor regarding the general available medical knowledge for working through an injury that could possibly be similar to Scandella’s, what can potentially cause such an injury, what the therapy process looks like, and what the general prognosis could be for someone with a similar injury.

Marco Scandella’s injury is Scandella’s injury and specific information regarding his case is between him and his doctor. This is an overview of injuries similar to his and should not be read as a diagnosis of Scandella’s individual case. Every hip injury is different and every patient recovers at their own pace and in their own way.

Thank you so much to Dr. Struan H. Coleman, MD, PhD who is a sports medicine surgeon at Hospital for Special Surgery in New York for taking the time to answer these questions regarding one of the most common hip ailments for hockey players. HSS, the official team physician for numerous professional sports teams and leagues including the New York Rangers, is nationally ranked #1 in orthopedics by U.S. News & World Report (2022-2023) and is a world leader in sports medicine performance and rehabilitation.

In layman’s terms, what type of injury could Scandella have sustained to his hip?

The most common hip injury that we see in athletes and particularly in hockey players is a torn hip labrum as a result of a condition called hip impingement or FAI. Hip impingement is defined as abnormal contact between the ball and socket of the hip joint. Young hockey players stress their growth plate at the top of the femur which causes a bony bump to form. This bony bump or CAM hits into the socket and damages both the labrum and eventually the cartilage of the socket.

What would reparative surgery entail?

The surgery to correct hip impingement is usually performed arthroscopically which is minimally invasive. The surgery is performed by first looking into the joint with a camera and then repairing the torn labrum and shaving the bony bump or CAM with a small mechanical burr.

What would the short term impacts be on a player who has an injury similar to Scandella’s?

Many NHL players have hip impingement that is asymptomatic. Hockey players with symptomatic hip impingement often try conservative management to avoid surgery and continue to play. Once conservative management of hip impingement fails and the player can no longer perform at a desired level then surgery is indicated. Arthroscopic surgery for hip impingement is successful 90% of the time in returning the player back to a desired level of play at an average of six months.

Are there any long term recovery concerns?

The long term concern for a patient with hip impingement is primarily the development of hip arthritis whether or not they have surgery.

What type of therapy/recovery would a patient be in for?

Patients rehabilitate for approximately six months following hip arthroscopy. This consists of a short period of protected weight bearing followed by a longer period of muscle strengthening and a gradual return to play.