Hip Impingement FAQs
What is hip impingement?
Hip impingement, also known as femoroacetabular impingement (FAI), is a condition where there is abnormal contact between the ball (femoral head) and socket (acetabulum) of the hip joint that causes abnormal friction in the joint that causes damage over time. This can lead to pain, limited range of motion, and potential damage to the joint structures.
Hip impingement is often caused by a developmental deformity in the hip joint, that prevents the parts from fitting together perfectly. It can also develop from repetitive motions. The result is abnormal friction during movement that damages the cartilage and labrum in the joint. There are three types of hip impingement: cam impingement (abnormality of the femoral head), pincer impingement (abnormality of the acetabulum), and combined impingement (both cam and pincer abnormalities).
In its early stages, hip impingement often causes no symptoms or only mild symptoms such stiffness. But as the person becomes active symptoms develop after sitting for long periods or activity.
Common symptoms include hip or groin pain, especially during activities that involve hip flexion, rotation, or prolonged sitting. Some individuals may also experience stiffness, clicking or locking sensations in the hip, and pain that radiates to the thigh or buttock.
A diagnosis is typically made based on a combination of a physical examination, medical history, and imaging studies such as X-rays, MRI, or CT scans. The expert hip surgeons at LALL Orthopedics + will clinical examination maneuvers such as the hip impingement test to confirm the diagnosis. With this test he will ask you to bend your knee toward your chest and then rotating it toward the opposite shoulder. If it causes hip pain, it indicates impingement which will be confirmed with the results of the imaging studies.
Yes, hip impingement is a relatively common cause of hip and groin pain, particularly among adolescents, young adults, and athletes. It often becomes noticeable during periods of increased activity.
In some cases, conservative treatments can help manage the symptoms. These may include physical therapy, anti-inflammatory medications, regenerative medicine such as Stem-Cell or Platelet-Rich-Plasma (PRP) injections, activity modification, and targeted exercises to improve hip strength and flexibility.
Surgery is considered when conservative treatments fail to provide relief, and the symptoms significantly affect a person’s quality of life. The surgical procedure is hip arthroscopy, a minimally invasive procedure that is completed as an outpatient, same day surgery. Hip arthroscopy can address the structural abnormalities, reshaping the bone, and repairing damaged cartilage. Elite athletes who undergo hip arthroscopy for FAI find significant improvements and a high return to sport at the same or greater level of competition.
Recovery varies, but most individuals can expect a period of restricted activity and physical therapy after surgery. Returning to full activity involves a personalized rehabilitation plan to achieve optimal outcomes. People with sedentary work like a desk job may be able to return to work within a few weeks after surgery if the pain is tolerable, but prolonged sitting should be avoided.
FAI is one of the most common causes of early onset hip osteoarthritis. Untreated hip impingement can potentially lead to hip labral tears, and cartilage damage. Early surgery and appropriate management can help reduce the risk of future joint damage.
Yes. In about one third of patients the condition affects both hips. It’s important to consult with a board-certified orthopedic hip surgeon at LALL Orthopedics + for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment plan.
If you have symptoms consistent with hip impingement, schedule a hip consultation with LALL Orthopedics +. LALL Orthopedics + is led by renowned hip surgeon Dr. Ajay C. Lall. Dr. Lall is a former dual sport NCAA collegiate athlete (football and track & field), American board certified, triple fellowship-trained expert orthopedic surgeon. LALL Orthopedics + specializes in the treatment of hip impingement.
At a Glance
Ajay C. Lall, MD, MS, FAAOS
- Board Certified – Orthopedic Surgery
- Triple Fellowship Trained
- Performs over 750 Surgeries Per Year
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