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Hip Impingement in Children

  • If you or your teen has hip impingement, you may have many concerns and questions. It may comfort you to know that caregivers at Boston Children's Hospital offer a wealth of experience treating teens and young adults with hip impingement. We’re here to answer your questions and to support you and your family every step of the way.

    About hip impingement

    Hip impingement (femoral acetabular impingement or FAI) is a mechanical disorder of the hip. In the normal hip, there is smooth gliding motion of the round head of the thigh bone (femoral head) within the hip socket (acetabulum).

    Hip illustration Hip illustration

    Hip impingement occurs when abnormalities in the bone disturb this gliding motion. This results in friction between the femoral head and hip socket. This friction can wear away the cartilage and tear the labrum (the cushion, or seal, that lines the hip joint).

    Signs and symptoms of hip impingement include hip stiffness and pain. It can be diagnosed by x-ray and other imaging tests. If hip impingement is diagnosed and treated early, treatment can be very successful. Untreated hip impingement may lead to cartilage damage and arthritis.

    Does Boston Children’s Child and Young Adult Hip Preservation Program treat teens and adults?

    Our hip sub-specialists are part of the Orthopedic Center at Boston Children's Hospital, which U.S. News & World Report ranked best in the nation in 2014.

    Boston Children’s hip team treats patients of all ages. Many teens and young adults with hip problems need diagnostic and surgical techniques that differ from what’s indicated for older adults. Our surgeons are recognized across the globe as pioneers in hip arthroscopy for teens and young adults, and our clinicians and researchers are dedicated to finding better ways to care for adolescents and young adults with hip problems.

    Boston Children’s Child and Young Adult Hip Preservation Program offers a unique expertise—we track how the hip works in each age group, how the problems evolve and how the hip’s function changes over time in adult patients who’ve had treatment in childhood.

    Hip impingement: Reviewed by Young-Jo Kim, MD
    © Boston Children's Hospital, 2011

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