Investigators found a considerable variability in the physical therapy protocols following hip arthroscopy for femoroacetabular impingement provided by surgeons online. This variance may affect how outcomes are assessed, they note.

The study, conducted by Eric C. Makhni, MD, MBA, and colleagues, appeared recently in Arthroscopy.

In the study, the researchers identified 111 surgeons who performed hip arthroscopy and could be found online through department or personal websites. Researchers reviewed these websites for protocols on postoperative restrictions, rehabilitation components and the time points for ending restrictions and initiating activities, and assessed time of suggested return to sport, explains a media release from Healio.

Overall, the release continues, 27.9% of surgeons had postoperative hip arthroscopy physical therapy protocols available online. Researchers noted 54.8% of protocols included bracing for a median 2-week duration. Initial postoperative weight-bearing status was identified in 93.5% of protocols, according to results, of which 69% of protocols listed partial weight-bearing with 20 pounds foot flat. Researchers noted a duration of weight-bearing restriction of a median 3 weeks and a median 6 weeks for femoroacetabular impingement and microfractures, respectively.

Initial range of motion limitations for a median of 3 weeks was specified in 83.9% of protocols. However, researchers found a substantial variation in the rehabilitation activities and time points for initiating activities, with a median of 12 weeks for time to return to sport identified in 64.5% of protocols and a median of 15.5 weeks for return to sport timing identified in 41.9% of protocols.

“Hip arthroscopy is an exciting and rapidly evolving field in orthopedics. Successful outcomes depend not only on the surgery, but also on the postoperative rehabilitation,” Makhni says in the release. “Significant variability in our postoperative protocols may pose challenges in how we critically assess our outcomes.”