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BACKGROUND: The postoperative management of femoroacetabular impingement (FAI) is variable with favourable surgical outcomes. Yet there is no evidence on the efficacy of hydrotherapy in athletes undergoing hip arthroscopy for FAI. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the role and the impact of hydrotherapy on return to sports following hip arthroscopy for symptomatic FAI. METHODS: 2 cohorts of mixed level of athletes from various sports: a hydrotherapy group that followed land-based exercises in combination with hydrotherapy exercises and a control group that followed solely the same land-based exercises. Pre- and postoperative pain and hip-specific outcome scores were completed, and patient satisfaction was rated. RESULTS: A total of 88 hip arthroscopies were included with a minimum of 2 years follow-up; the hydrotherapy group comprised of 36 hips and the control group, 52 hips. There was a significant improvement in time to return to previous performance (HR 1.91, 95% CI, 1.21-3.01; p = 0.005) in the hydrotherapy group compared with the control. The hip-specific scores and patient satisfaction were considerably improved in the hydrotherapy group. CONCLUSIONS: The analysis of our data indicates that the incorporation of hydrotherapy into postoperative rehabilitation for hip arthroscopy for FAI accelerates the return of athletes to their pre-injury performance, since recovery time decreased significantly.

Original publication




Journal article


Hip Int

Publication Date



Athletes, aquatic therapy, femoroacetabular impingement, hip arthroscopy, hydrotherapy, physical exercises, rehabilitation, return to play