Hip impingement (Femoral-Acetabular Impingement) occurs when the ball and socket of the hip joint don’t fit together properly. The restricted motion damages cartilage and can cause pain and arthritis in young adults.
In some cases, the ball is too misshapen to fit properly into the socket. Sometimes, the exterior edge of the socket extends to the point that it covers too much of the ball. Hip impingement also can be caused by a combination of these two problems.
Most people with hip impingement experience pain in the groin area during or after flexing the hip, as when running, jumping or sitting for a long time. You may also have difficulty flexing your hip beyond a right angle.
Surgery may be required to prevent further hip injury.
HIP JOINT ANATOMY
Many people can live with (Femoral-Acetabular Impingement) FAI and not know, because it is often not painful in the early stages. Over time, symptoms may develop. Those with more advanced FAI typically experience the following:
A clicking or locking sound or sensation within the hip joint
Difficulty performing routine tasks such as putting on shoes
Difficulty walking uphill
Lower back pain or pain in the pelvis area
Sharp pain when squatting, turning, twisting
The hip joint is where the thigh bone (femur) meets the pelvic bone. This joint is known as a “ball and socket joint” because the head of the thigh bone is round and fits into the cup-shaped area of the pelvis (acetabulum).
Two common causes of FAI:
A DEFORMITY AT THE FEMORAL HEAD
If the top (the ball) of the femur is abnormally shaped, then it can be jammed into the socket when you bend your hip. This kind of damage can be done while performing activities such as bike riding, but it can even occur when doing something as simple as bending over to tie your shoes.
A DEFORMITY OF THE SOCKET (ACETABULUM)
If the front rim of the socket sticks out too far, the neck of the femur may bump into this rim during normal hip movement.
The first course of action is typically conservative treatment. This usually involves taking anti-inflammatory medication and modifying your activity level. Physical therapy may also be recommended, and some patients may opt for cortisone injections in the hip.
Those with established damage are usually past the point of conservative treatments and may require surgery. Common surgeries include arthroscopy and hip replacements. The right option for you will depend on the severity of the damage.
“Arthroscopy involves repairing damaged tissue, removing bone growths, and addressing damaged cartilage. This surgery is designed to restore the normal range of motion to the hip joint.
Those who have significant cartilage loss in the joint may require a more extensive operation that includes a hip replacement.
If you or a loved one is experiencing joint pain, contact us to schedule a visit with one of our hip specialists. A delay in treatment can result in further damage to the cartilage of the hip, and it’s important to seek treatment as soon as possible.
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