LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Athletes run the risk of injury at every practice, and hip injuries can be the most cumbersome to diagnose and could cause arthritis pain later in life. Sulphur Tornado wide receiver Hunter Bourgeois practices seven days a week for at least two hours a day, but when he injured his hip during football practice, the pain was unbearable.
"It feels like you're getting electrocuted through your leg," said Bourgeois.
He kept right on practicing that day though and at baseball practice a few weeks later he reinjured the hip. This time he had to see a doctor, and Dr. Brett Cascio, Orthopedic Surgeon at Lake Charles Memorial Hospital, says many people with hip injuries need to see at least three doctors before properly diagnosed. Dr. Cascio performed an impingement test on Bourgeois to test if his labrum, a spongy part of the hip socket, might have a tear. The test stretches the knee toward the head and then slightly inward. If the person experiences pain from this stretch, it's a good indication they have a labrum injury. About 5 percent of people have a bit of extra bone that can make them prone to a labrum injury, Bourgeois included. Dr. Cascio said most people he sees with the injury are athletes including dancers, football players, and horseback riders.
"On a football team of 60 kids, you'll have at least one or two of the kids having some sort of problem with their hip labrum," said Dr. Cascio.
A tear in the labrum could eventually lead to arthritis. Dr. Cascio compares the tear to a hangnail: "It could be torn, but you really don't know about it until you catch it and pull to where the nerves pinch."
Many people try home remedies like pain medications or therapy, but Dr. Cascio says these methods will not help a labrum injury. He says doctors recently discovered how to surgically treat this injury.
"For years we called them hip strains because we didn't know about the hip labrum...this is a relatively new surgery, so we do not have data past 5 years even on what happens to these hips," said Dr. Cascio.
Hunter had the surgery and is back up and playing football at full speed again for the Sulphur Tornadoes.