Hip impingement is a group of problems that can cause groin, thigh and buttock pain in active adults. It typically diminishes motion and the ability to do high-level activities including jumping and running. Active adults may have symptoms with day-to-day life as well. This includes pain with putting on shoes, getting in and out of a car, or standing from a seated position. Symptoms may come on with an acute injury, but more commonly gradually occur with activities.
The pain in this syndrome is due to a pinching of soft tissue between bony prominences of the hip. The hip joint is a deep-seated, ball-and-socket type joint. When these prominences pinch the soft tissue repetitively, the soft tissue can be torn and create pain.
The soft tissue that is most commonly injured includes the labrum (deepening cartilage) articular cartilage (lining cartilage of the hip), and the ligamentum teres (a ligament within the joint).
Additionally, some patients who face hip impingement suffer from Femoroacetabular impingement (FAI). FAI is a condition in which extra bone grows along one or both of the bones that form the hip joint — giving the bones an irregular shape.
Treatments for Hip Impingement
When this type of pain occurs in active adults, the initial treatments are typical home remedies. RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) is an appropriate place to start along with diminishing intensity of activity and over-the-counter anti-inflammatories. If this fails, an evaluation in your physician’s office is appropriate. This will include an exam and possibly imaging, X-ray and/or MRI.
If the exam and imaging show concerns for hip impingement, there are many treatment options. Physical therapy, injections and rest are non-surgical solutions that many times are sufficient for recovery. If these fail, hip arthroscopy (minimally invasive surgery) may be necessary for improvement.