Do you have hip issues? Talk to Dr. Economopoulos…
TOCA (The Orthopedic Clinic Association) has been a leader in orthopedic care since 1949, led by nationally recognized, established orthopedic physicians like Dr. Economopoulos. He is a native of Arizona where he attended Brophy College Prep. He received his undergrad degree and medical degree at the University of Arizona in Tucson. He completed residencies in both general surgery and orthopedic surgery at Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center. He then spent a year as a sports medicine fellow at the University of Virginia specializing in shoulder and knee arthroscopy. He completed his training with a 6 month hip arthroscopy fellowship in Melbourne, Australia with John O’Donnell, a pioneer in hip arthroscopy and one of the highest volume hip arthroscopists in the world. Dr. Economopoulos is one of few orthopaedic surgeons in the United States to complete a concentrated fellowship in hip arthroscopy and the treatment of femoroacetabular impingement (FAI). His specialties are on hip and knees, which directly affects golfers.
What made you go into this nitch?“I have always wanted to become a doctor and I followed the path of sports medicine because of my passion for sports. So, it fit well to go into orthopedics. I have been with TOCA for 15 months. Few people do this procedure so that’s when I decided this would be where I would dedicate my studies. I found my nitch in hips. I still operate on other parts but 1/3 of my work is in hips and 2/3 is in rotator cups, knees etc.”
Do you see a lot of young athletes?“Yes, the shape of their hip changes and a bump forms on the hip. This is caused by wear and tear from sports. When these kids start playing sports at a young age the hip slowly starts to reshape. Hip pain usually comes about around ages 18-21. I will go in and reshape the hip and get them corrected.”
You said kids start developing this hip bump when they are younger from sports. Is there a way to prevent it?“Developmental issues are almost inevitable (soft plate moving up and remaining). The best thing you can do is watch it and treat it as it goes. Also, just because you have the bump does not mean you are going to have symptoms. When patients see the bump the next step is physical therapy. You can strengthen the hip to hopefully avoid surgery but you cannot prevent the bump.”
Do you see a lot of wear and tear issues from older members?“I see younger patients in their 40s and 50s now needing hip replacements. The bump bangs up cartilage and we are seeing younger people needing hip replacements earlier. Golfers engage their hips on their swing.
Do you see young/old patients from golf with hip issues?“Golfers develop hip issues on their twist, when they are rotating it pinches the nerve the hip. This can be treated with scoping.”
Do you have a message for golfers?“If you are having hip pain, get it checked out earlier rather than later. Then hopefully that will allow for us to help prevent hip replacement.”
Check out Bunker to Bunkers segment with Dr. Economopoulos on Saturday 15th on radio station 98.7 at 7-9am.