Hip Impingement | Symptoms and Causes

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What are the signs and symptoms of hip impingement?

Early diagnosis of hip impingement allows caregivers to start treatment sooner, preventing further damage. Our goal is to diagnose hip impingement as early as possible, which provides the best chance for successful recovery and return to full activities, including sports.

Signs and symptoms of hip impingement can include:

•   stiffness in the groin or front of the thigh
•   inability to flex the hip beyond a right angle
•    pain in the groin during/after the hip has been flexed, such as running, jumping or prolonged sitting

What causes hip impingement?

Hip impingement is caused by the abnormal development of the bones of the hip joint that ultimately causes damage to the joint’s cartilage. Deformities of the femur bone (cam impingement), acetabulum (pincer impingement) or a combination of the two abnormalities can cause hip impingement:

Hip joint illustration

Pincer impingement

Pincer Impingement occurs when there is direct contact between the femur bone head-neck junction and the acetabular rim.

Cam impingement

Cam impingement is caused by a squeezing or jamming of an abnormally shaped thigh bone head (femoral head) and head-neck junction into the socket (acetabulum) during certain types of motion.

Hip impingement also can be caused by other conditions, including slipped capital femoral epiphysis (SCFE), a misshapen thigh bone head, an abnormally tilted femoral (thigh bone) head or post-traumatic deformities.

How common is hip impingement?

Hip impingement is essentially a wear-and-tear condition, affecting about 20 percent of the total population. It’s more common among younger athletes—especially those in sports requiring turning, twisting and squatting motions—and physically active people.

Who is at risk for hip impingement?

Children, teens and adults may develop hip impingement from repetitive activities, although they may have been born with a genetic predisposition. Hip impingement is somewhat common among teen and young adult athletes. Young athletes with the condition may experience pain sooner than their less active peers.

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