Hip Pain in the Young Athlete

This summer, it seems like I saw a repeating trend in young athletes. Although they all participated in different sports…cross country, basketball, baseball, etc… the complaints were the same. Sharp pain in the upper hip, worse with sudden movements, better with rest and no specific cause of injury except an increase in activity in their specific sport.

My initial suspicion was an avulsion fracture but following examination and x-ray analysis… it was clear something else was happening and the diagnosis would continue to be suspected in every young athlete who came into the office.

Ilium Apophysitis is an inflammation of the growth plates in the Ilium that occurs in the body especially in a young skeletally immature athlete as activity begins to ramp up in their training. For reference, the Ilium is a bone in the pelvis… when I tell you “put your hands on your hips”… you’re putting your hand on your Ilium. Overuse injuries like this typically occur due to overactive muscles somewhere in the kinetic chain of the body. Every muscle from the bottom of your foot to the top of your head is connected and anywhere within that chain that becomes dysfunctional can create postural and muscular imbalance. Our priority is to identify which tissues are causing the dysfunction and lay out a game plan to correct these.

Treatment for such a condition meant we weren’t always the coach’s friend at times. No coach… or athlete… wants to be told they have to slow down, but sometimes it’s necessary. Typically, the athlete has to be limited or rest completely for the first two weeks while tissue is beginning to heal. During this period, kinesiotape (KT Tape) is used to reduce inflammation and specific soft tissue techniques release adhesions in the tight muscle groups. Most importantly, chiropractic spinal manipulation to the areas of dysfunction help restore proper movement to the lower back and pelvis. Chiropractic manipulation is essential for restoring joint mobility, resetting the musculoskeletal imbalances, and help in correcting the underlying issues that lead to the injury in the first place.

Re-injury can occur if an athlete resumes the sport too soon and we want to eliminate this from occurring to the best of our abilities. We are seeing these athletes return back to pre-injury status in less than 6 weeks.

By correcting the underlying issues such as internal hip rotation, an elevated ilium, and low back joint restrictions with chiropractic care, the athlete will return to their sport even stronger than before the injury occurred!

Early detection and early intervention by a Certified Chiropractic Sports Physician could be just what your athlete needs to get back to their optimal performance safely and sooner than they imagined possible.

-Dr. Brock

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