Hip pain in younger adults


Joshua Heerey has been awarded a $10,000 Beryl Hayes Memorial grant to investigate the burden of hip pain on young and middle-aged adults.

Research overview

In Tasmania, hip osteoarthritis is prevalent in 45 per cent of those aged over 50 (Ding et al 2010). Most studies focus on hip pain in the elderly (eg, hip osteoarthritis); however, there is increasing evidence that hip pain in younger adults (eg, aged 18–50) creates a substantial burden. The TasCHIP study will investigate young and middle-aged people with hip pain. In particular, we are interested in finding out about the impact of hip-related conditions such as femoroacetabular impingement syndrome and acetabular dysplasia. The study is a prospective longitudinal cohort study that will aim to investigate modifiable risk factors associated with increases in pain, worsening of quality of life, changes in physical activity and progression to hip surgery over a 12-month period.

Importance of the funds

The grant will be used to employ a research assistant based in Hobart, Tasmania. The research assistant will recruit and test people who are eligible to be involved in the study. In addition, the grant will also enable us to perform X-rays on each of the study participants and fund a part-time research assistant who will be based at La Trobe Sport and Exercise Medicine Research Centre.

The Beryl Hayes Memorial grant will enable me to continue researching the impact of hip pain on individuals living in the community, which has been the focus of my PhD research.

Challenges and outcomes

Conducting longitudinal research has its own unique challenges. I see the main challenges as being patient recruitment and retention over the 12-month study period.

The TasCHIP study will hopefully enable us to develop a better understanding of which modifiable factors (eg, muscle strength, range of motion, body mass index) are associated with worsening pain, quality of life and physical function in people with hip pain. Ultimately this information will enable us to provide interventions for people with hip pain who are at risk of poor long-term outcomes.

Ding, C. et al. Knee and hip radiographic hip osteoarthritis predict total hip bone loss in older adults. JBMR 2010. 25(4): 858–865.

Josh Heerey, APAM, is a physiotherapist and member of the La Trobe Sport and Exercise Medicine Research Centre. He is completing his PhD investigating the relationship between imaging, physical function and patient outcomes in football players with hip-related pain.


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