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What Is Hip Impingement Syndrome?

The hip is located where the thigh and pelvis meet. The hip joint is called a ball-and-socket joint, because of its shape. The circular tip of the thigh bone fits into the cup-shaped area in the pelvis, and should smoothly move within the socket. With Hip Impingement Syndrome, there is a problem with the way the ball functions in the socket. This syndrome is a main cause of osteoarthritis in the hip, especially in people under age 40. Athletically, golfers and hockey players are sometimes prone to this condition due to the twisting motion of the hips their sport requires.

golf swing at sunset

Hip Impingement Syndrome Causes and Risk Factors

Common causes of Hip Impingement Syndrome are:

  • Playing sports that involve twisting, like hockey or golf
  • A misshapen ball at the top of the femur, or a deformity of the socket
  • Certain diseases or conditions, like Legg-Calve-Perthes disease, which is a disease where the ball part of the hip joint doesn’t get enough blood. This can cause the bone to die.

Symptoms of Hip Impingement Syndrome

Signs and symptoms of Hip Impingement Syndrome can include:

  • Stiffness in the groin area or front of the thigh
  • Loss of complete range of motion in the hip
  • Over time, there is progressive pain, even when from just walking
  • Hip pain at night, when exercising, or walking on flat surfaces

When Surgery Is Necessary

Conservative treatment involves resting the hip, adjusting activities to not move the hip in a way that causes pain, physical therapy and exercise, and anti-inflammatory or pain medication. If these options are not sufficient to alleviate the pain, surgery might be considered. Often, a surgeon can reshape the ball to fit into the socket without replacing the hip. Many of the surgical procedures for hip impingement can be performed arthroscopically, which is performed by inserting a lighted scope and thin tools through small incisions over the hip rather than open surgery.

Contact Dr. Madsen at Madsen Orthopedics if you have symptoms of Hip Impingement Syndrome that are interfering with your daily activities or affecting your quality of life.

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