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Hip Pain in Dancers, Just a Pulled Muscle?

Dr. Kevin Ho - Orthopaedic Surgeon

Translation: Stacey Yeung - Dance Science Researcher

25 March 2020

The hip joint is a ball and socket joint and lined with a thin layer of hyaline cartilage. The rim of the hip joint is lined with a special ridge of soft tissue called the labrum that adds stability to the hip joint. Groin sprain and strain are not uncommon in dancers after performing extreme hip movements. While many of these soft-tissue injuries tend to settle over time, there are cases in which the pain may persist and limit the dancing activities. The possible cause for such pain includes underlying labral tear, cartilage lesions or Femoroacetabular Impingement (FAI), also known as hip impingement.

Hip impingement occurs when something prevents the smooth, normal free movement of the ball-and-socket joint. This condition can occur at any age but more frequently in adolescents and young adults. Repetitive grinding of the femoral neck onto the rim of the acetabulum can lead to cartilage and labral failure.

There are two types of hip impingements:

  • Cam impingement

  • Pincer impingement


The diagnosis can be made by reviewing the patient’s health history and a physical examination. Other tests may include:

  • Radiography (X-rays) of the hip

  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) which visualizes the soft tissue cartilage and labrum Computed Tomography (CT) scan


Some patients with mild symptoms can manage with non-operative therapy:

  • Reduce the level of physical activity

  • Physiotherapy

  • Non-steroids anti-inflammatory (NSAIDs)

  • Hip injections

In some cases, surgery may be needed to manage the underlying problem. The recent arthroscopic technique in hip surgery has gained a favorable outcome in FAI.


作者:何其威醫生 - 骨科醫生

​中文翻譯:楊子慧 - 舞蹈科學研究員







  • 凸輪撞擊

  • 鉗形撞擊



  • 髖部X光

  • 磁力共振成像 (MRI) 來檢視軟組織軟骨和孟唇、電腦斷層(CT)掃描



  • 減少體力活動的水平

  • 物理治療

  • 採用非類固醇消炎藥

  • 髖關節注射




1. Kolo FC, Charbonnier C, Pfirrmann CW, Duc SR, Lubbeke A, Duthon VB, et al. Extreme hip motion in professional ballet dancers: dynamic and morphological evaluation based on magnetic resonance imaging. Skeletal radiology 2013;42(5):689-98.

2. Leunig M, Beaule PE, Ganz R. The concept of femoroacetabular impingement: current status and future perspectives. Clinical orthopaedics and related research 2009;467(3):616-22.

3. Charbonnier C, Kolo FC, Duthon VB, Magnenat-Thalmann N, Becker CD, Hoffmeyer P, et al. Assessment of congruence and impingement of the hip joint in professional ballet dancers: a motion capture study. The American journal of sports medicine 2011;39(3):557-66.

4. Palmer AJR, Ayyar Gupta V, Fernquest S, Rombach I, Dutton SJ, Mansour R, et al. Arthroscopic hip surgery compared with physiotherapy and activity modification for the treatment of symptomatic femoroacetabular impingement: multicentre randomised controlled trial. Bmj 2019;364:l185.

Disclaimer Statement:

This article was accomplished by the author in his/her personal capacity. The opinions expressed in this article do not reflect the view of the official statement of CUHK and HKADMS. It is intended for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always consult with an appropriate professional for specific advice related to your situation.

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