Epidemiology of Hip Injuries in the National Basketball Association: A 24-Year Overview


Background: Professional athletes are subject to various injuries that are often dictated by the nature of their sport. Professional basketball players previously have been shown to sustain injuries throughout the musculoskeletal system, most commonly to the ankle and knee.

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to report the epidemiology of injuries specific to the pelvis, hip, and thigh and their effect on games missed in professional basketball players.

Study design: Descriptive epidemiological.

Methods: Records were recalled from the National Basketball Association epidemiological database for athletic-related pelvis, hip, or thigh injuries that occurred from the 1988-1989 through the 2011-2012 seasons. The primary information collected included anatomic location where the injury occurred, when in the course of the season injury occurred, specific pathology, date, activity at the time of injury, injury mechanism, number of practices and games missed, and whether surgery was required. The number of practices and games missed were summed to yield the number of days missed per episode.

Results: There were 2852 cases (14.6% of all athletic-related injuries) involving 967 individual players. In 1746 (61.2%) cases, injuries occurred during game competition. Across the course of this study, clinical incidence of injury to the pelvis, hip, or thigh was 1.50 per 100 players. The mean (±standard deviation) number of days missed per case was 6.3 ± 10.2. The quadriceps group was the most commonly injured structure (contusions and strains) and had a significantly higher game-related injury rate than other structures (0.96 per 100 athletic exposures, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.87-1.04). Players had the greatest risk (relative risk = 1.38, 95% CI = 1.26-1.52) of sustaining a strain than any other type of injury, with a game-related injury rate of 1.79 (95% CI = 1.67-1.90). The hamstring muscle group was the most frequently strained. Strains were more likely to occur in the preseason.

Conclusion: Pelvis, hip, and thigh injuries in professional basketball players are commonly extra-articular strains and contusions and represent a significant burden of injury. The actual amount of intra-articular hip disorders may be underestimated, as the awareness of these disorders has increased only in the past decade. With the awareness of the types of injuries that occur in this region, focused injury prevention strategies may be beneficial to players and teams at all levels of competition, not only professional athletes.

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