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Hip Impingement

Hip impingement is a condition when there is an abnormal contact between the ball-shaped head of the femur and the cup-shaped socket of the pelvis during hip movement. This occurs due to structural abnormalities in either the femoral head or the acetabulum. These structural anomalies can lead to friction, pain, and damage to the joint’s soft tissues, including the labrum and the articular cartilage.

There are three main types of hip impingement:

  • Cam Impingement: In this type, the femoral head is not perfectly round and does not fit smoothly into the acetabulum. Instead, there are bony protrusions on the femoral head or neck that cause abnormal contact with the acetabulum.
  • Pincer Impingement: Pincer impingement occurs when there is extra bone growth on the rim of the acetabulum, causing it to cover too much of the femoral head. This leads to pinching and compression during hip movement.
  • Mixed Impingement: Mixed impingement is a combination of both cam and pincer impingement, where there are abnormalities in both the femoral head and the acetabulum.

Symptoms of hip impingement injury can include:

  • Hip Pain: Pain is typically felt in the groin area and can also radiate to the buttocks or thigh. It often occurs during or after activities that affect hip movement, such as walking, running, or sitting for extended periods.
  • Limited Range of Motion: Impingement can cause restricted hip movement, making activities like squatting, bending, or rotating the hip difficult.
  • Stiffness: Individuals might experience stiffness in the hip joint, especially after periods of inactivity.
  • Catching or Clicking Sensation: Some people describe a catching or clicking sensation in the hip during movement.

Diagnosis of hip impingement injury involves a combination of medical history, physical examination, and imaging tests such as X-rays or MRI scans. Treatment options depend on the severity of the injury and its impact on an individual’s daily activities:

  • Conservative Management: This may involve rest, activity modification, physical therapy to strengthen hip muscles and improve joint stability, and anti-inflammatory medications.
  • Injections: Corticosteroid injections can provide temporary pain relief by reducing inflammation.
  • Surgery: In cases where conservative methods fail to provide relief, surgical intervention may be considered. Arthroscopic surgery can address structural abnormalities, remove damaged tissue, and repair the labrum if needed.

Early diagnosis and appropriate management can help individuals with hip impingement injury manage their symptoms, reduce pain, and maintain their hip joint function over the long term.