Doctors seeing more hip injuries amid rise in extreme workouts

Friday, December 4, 2015
EMBED <>More Videos

More young people than ever are pushing the limits of fitness, and some are paying the price in hip pain.

It's important that people live healthy and exercise. But as the saying goes, sometimes there can be too much of a good thing, and some orthopedic surgeons say they're seeing more of a certain problem due to extreme workouts.

Ania DiAntonio wasn't an athlete in school. But as a young adult, she got hooked on running and Crossfit.

"At first I said, 'I don't think so. There's no way I can lift more than two shopping bags,'" she explained. "Then I found myself deadlifting 250 pounds."

Last year, just as she thought she was hitting her peak, Ania developed pain in her right hip.

She says, "I couldn't even go walking around the mall for more than 15 minutes."

Dr. Eric Kropf of Temple Health says it was hip impingement, which is when the ball and socket don't move smoothly.

Dr. Kropf tells us, "The femur, or thigh bone, impinges up against the socket, and that creates pain."

Lady Gaga and baseball star Alex Rodriguez have both had it. Some people are just born with a mismatch, but activity can also be to blame.

Dr. Kropf says recently he's seen more cases in young adults who do extreme workouts.

"So, squatting is now a sport, and they're doing it to a high level of repetition and a high level of power," he said.

To fix the problem, doctors do minimally-invasive arthroscopic surgery, inserting tiny cameras and tools into the hip joint to smooth down the rough spots.

"It's an outpatient procedure, done under general anesthesia - takes about 90 minutes to two hours... People are back to most functions and even competitive sports by three to four months," Dr. Kropf said.

Ania took it slower, worried she'd hurt herself again. But she returned to Crossfit a year later, and is back to her old form.

She says, "I was able to get my full range of motion."

Dr. Kropf says many people with hip impingement will eventually need joint replacement, but the arthroscopic surgery will push it back much later.

As for preventing the problem, it's best to do cross training, which means try to do different types of activities throughout the week so you are not doing the same thing every day.