Femoral acetabular impingement, hook of hamate injuries on rise in NASCAR pit crews: 4 insights from OrthoCarolina

Orthopedic Sports Medicine

Hand surgeon R. Glenn Gaston, MD, and hip and knee surgeon Walter B. Beaver Jr., MD, presented their research findings related to orthopedic injuries in NASCAR pit crews at the 2017 NASCAR Summit earlier this month.

The two physicians, who both practice at Charlotte, N.C.-based OrthoCarolina, discussed how rates of both femoral acetabular impingement and hook of hamate fractures have increased in recent years. Both studies were overseen by Bill Heisel, the director of motorsports at OrthoCarolina.


Here's what you need to know:


1. Femoral acetabular impingement has specifically increased in rear tire changers; over the past seven years, 14 out of 80 sprint cup series NASCAR rear tire changers have been diagnosed with FAI.


2. Rear tire changers are at high risk for FAI, since they are often following the car as it comes into the bit, internally rotating and bearing the weight of the tire, according to Dr. Beaver. Unlike rear tire changers, front tire changers wait on the care on the right side, before the car stops.


3. Hook of hamate fractures have specifically increased in changers and carriers; over a 10-year period, there was a 7 percent incidence rate of hook of hamate fractures among changers and a 12 percent incidence rate of the injury among carriers. These injuries are relatively rare in the general population, according to Dr. Gaston.


4. Dr. Gaston says the main mechanism of injury for hook of hamate fractures is blunt force to the hand. Changers and carriers are at high risk for these fractures, due to the force of placing tires on the care or adjusting the gun.


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