The hip is a very important region of the body, especially since our upright, weightbearing activities rely on a properly functioning hip joint. With the expansive growth of youth athletic programs, the incidence of hip-related injuries and the associated disability has markedly increased. But is there a difference between young male and young female hip injuries?
We’ve all observed the rapid rate of growth that occurs from age five to age seventeen, with bone growth reaching maturity around age sixteen for females and eighteen for males. Prior to skeletal maturity, the growth plates remain open in the long bones of the body, which adds to the complexity and challenge in diagnosing and treating hip injuries in this age group.
Studies show that hip injuries account for approximately 5-9% of all athletic injuries. According to a study that looked at data from 121,047 pediatric visits at a sports medicine clinic between 2000-10, the most common hip injuries for males were labral tear (23.1%), avulsion fracture (11.5%), slipped capital femoral epiphysis (11.5%), dislocation (7.7%), and tendonitis (7.7%). For females, the leading hip injuries included labral tear (59.0%), tendonitis (14.8%), snapping hip syndrome (6.6%), strain (4.9%), and bursitis (4.9%).
The five most common sports that caused hip injuries were dancing/ballet (23.0%), soccer (18.4%), gymnastics (9.2%), ice hockey (8.1%), and track and field (6.9%). Among adolescents (age 13–17 years), the data show that hip injuries were significantly more common in females than males. Studies have shown that young female athletes, especially in post-puberty ages, exhibit different landing and pivoting movements than males, which may help explain why adolescent females may be more at risk for hip injuries than teenaged boys.
Doctors of chiropractic are trained to diagnose and treat musculoskeletal injuries—including those of the hip joint—in patients of all ages. The key is to manage such conditions as early as possible to help patients get back to sporting activities and reduce the risk for future injuries in the hip and neighboring regions of the body.