On the rise with Andrews Sports Medicine & Orthopaedic Center: Hip injuries impacting athletes
Do you have hip pain? You are not alone no matter your age. The Sports Techie community blog chatted with the world-renowned orthopedic clinic Andrews Sports Medicine and top surgeon Dr. Benton Emblom, who along with Dr. K. David Moore are leading the way in Birmingham, Alabama treating patients from every generation by utilizing the most advanced technology. The team of doctors at Andrews Sports Medicine & Orthopaedic Center are diagnosing, providing solutions and offering treatment plans for the majority of affected older adults like myself and my tight right hip that may be arthritic. These seasoned experts are also seeing a rise in hip injuries and even hip replacement surgeries in younger active patients — some as young as 18 years old. The average age for hip replacements is 65, but with people under 45 years old now accounting for 6% of surgeries, that age is decreasing.
Sports injury awareness and prevention is always top-of-mind, but how do you protect athletes from an injury typically seen in older people?
Not Hip To Be Hip Injured
Due to the hip joint working overtime in the younger population, some of the most common hip injuries include labral tears, hip impingement and adult hip dysplasia. However, there are benefits to getting hip replacement surgeries at a younger age, including quicker recovery time and better preservation of the hips.
Dr. Emblom and his colleagues have years of relevant and cutting-edge medical expertise in hip preservation and hip reconstruction and have wise perspectives on the following topics:
- How to prevent hip pain in the younger population
- Hip injuries in sports
- Why more young adults are getting hip surgery
- Trends in hip injuries and recovery
- Preserving the hips long-term
- Benefits to hip surgeries in younger adults
Dr. Emblom has been a part of expanding hip knowledge since his residency from 2000 to 2007. In the early 2000, most hip issues where misdiagnosed simply because what is known today was undiscovered back then. An ‘old person hip’ was the most common diagnosis a few decades ago and it too often led straight to hip replacement surgery that was complicated and too often failed. Now, we know through research that arthritis, hip displacement and even the hamstring can cause pain in the hips. Quite often with younger athletes, hip pain is often treatable with non-operable treatment and through rehab. Conservative treatment options include bracing, medication or joint fluid supplements.
Today, arthroscopic hip surgery is used to treat a torn labrum or hip impingement. By using a MRI and then doing an arthroscope on non-arthritic hips, Andrews is able to help prevent the progression of hip deterioration and restore normal hip biomechanics, according to Dr. Emblom. A ‘scope procedure is able to last 10-12 years helping patients keep activity levels where they want before hip replacement surgery is necessary. Hip replacements can last approximately 30 years. Therefore, should a 45-year old patient undergo a scope procedure, it should last until their mid-to-late 50s, then he or she can undergo a hip replacement that will last them until their 80’s. Scopes are game-changers for people wanting to stay active.
Younger Hip Patients A Trend?
Bad posture, poor mechanics and a poor core can all lead to misalignment of the knees and lumbar spine, and impinged hips. Emblom added that bad hips for 18 year old’s is not normal. Usually, younger athletes have extenuating circumstances, hip deformities, or ball to socket issues, resulting in experiencing stiffness, with the added loss of power and explosiveness. Hip preservation is the number one solution for younger athletes suffering from hip issues. Maintaining maximum flexibility and designing an injury prevention strategy are some of the ways Andrews makes this so.
Andrews are Mako SmartRobotics surgeons. They perform Mako total hip replacement (THA) surgery developed by Stryker using Mako Robotic-Arm assisted surgery techniques.
It is a three-step process.
- Scan – Before surgery a CT scan on the hip is performed creating a 3D virtual model of a patient’s unique joint.
- Plan – Patient-specific surgical planning. The 3D-based model evaluates factors such as bone structure, disease severity, joint alignment, and the surrounding bone and tissue all designed to figure out the proper size, placement and alignment of the implant.
- Make Can – Mako’s robotic arm is directed by the surgeon to remove arthritic bone and cartilage from the hip. Make’s Accustop technology then uses a virtual boundary to help provide resistance assisting the surgeon stay with the surgical plan boundaries. Real-time date is provided to the doctors for assessment of movements and tensions of the joint, allowing for adjustments per the plan as needed. Finally, the robotic arm assists with the implant final positioning and desired angle.
Andrews Sports Medicine – We Are Here
Through research and education, Andrews Medical Center helps train other physicians.
Andrews is also there for the coaches, athletic trainers and mentors working with the next-gen of athletes. They operate as team physicians in college football for the local Alabama Crimson Tide and Auburn Tigers, and many other universities and colleges, both in-state or in nearby states. Andrews works with the New Orleans Saints in the NFL. The Birmingham Barons, the AA baseball affiliate of the Chicago White Sox, also receives medical services from Andrews. My younger brother will love to know they treat WWE athletes. Some 60 local high schools and middle schools are supported by Andrews. If the professional, collegiate or youth sports organization is in Alabama or nearby, it is highly likely they work with Andrews Medical Center. Same as the Alabama Ballet.
Andrews Knows Bo
I commented to Dr. Emblom about Bo Jackson. I saw Bo play in person for both the KC Royals and Los Angeles Raiders. I attended the game in 1987 against the Seattle Seahawks when he ran over Brain Bozworth (Boz) at the goal line rushing for 221-yards. He is the only player to become an All-Star in MLB and the NFL. My question to him was the following. What could have been done today with advancements in technologies to treat Bo after he suffered a hip injury in a 1990 NFL playoff game and eventually had hip replacement surgery in 1992?
Turns out Emblom knows Bo and feels an early diagnosis for Jackson would have made a world of difference. Bo was a strong and tough athlete who went untested for two days and was eventually diagnosed with a hip fracture and a cracked hip socket. Emblom said that Dr. Andrew was at a dinner with Bo right after the injury and saw the amount of pain Jackson was in. Emblom shared with me he was recently with an athlete at an unnamed major university Andrews partners with, and the athlete had avascular necrosis due to an injury similar to Jackson’s. Because of his early and proper diagnosis, the collegiate athlete was put on crutches and would undergo a scope procedure on his hip that could ideally keep him active for over ten years. In the past, the athlete would have needed hip replacement surgery at least twice and perhaps three time over his lifetime rather than maybe once. Bo’s hip is given credit for raising awareness across the medical, athletic and training field.
I asked Emblom about cloning technology and the hip. It turned out he had never been asked about this topic before which is something I pride myself on, asking a question during an interview never before asked.
His response about cloning involved the materials in replaced hips which are technologically advanced such as the ceramic hip and titanium joints, however, he felt that cloning could actually be useful for generating needy biological cement ingrown to the bone and socket attachment. His ballpark figure, educated guess, when pressed as to how long the medical industry is away from hip clone technology was perhaps 20-50 years, with 25-years as his final guess.
Overall, the average age for replacement surgery is going down but Andrews is better able to detect problems like hip impingement, much earlier, resulting in more treatment options. Being able to offer more comfortable options other than surgery like a scope procedure, lengthens the amount of time before an implant and replacement are required.
Should you need hip or joint consultation, Andrews Sports Medicine accepts patients from the local community, from around the state of Alabama, as well as across the United States, and even from around the world. Emblom offers virtual assessments, video conferences and text message updates as a form of follow up. Because Andrews is part of treatment and not rehab, the practice is never full of patients as they constantly fix people and move on.
To schedule an appointment, visit AndrewsSportsMedicine.com or call (205) 939-3699. Tell them THE Sports Techie referred you.
Sports Techie, victory over injury is the Andrews Sports Medicine way.
The Andrews Sports Medicine mission is to provide the best orthopaedic care possible using the latest clinical and surgical technologies.
Benton A. Emblom, MD is an orthopaedic surgeon specializing in non-arthritic hip disorders/hip preservation procedures.
Tell him we sent you to Andrews Sports Medicine.
That is all.
See you later sportstechie in Seattle, Atlanta and around the world!
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