Hip impingement

Man with hip pain

​​​​​​​​​​​​Hip impingement occurs when bone spurs are formed around the hip joint, giving the joint an irregular shape. These bone spurs come from overgrowth of the bones surrounding the hip joint and cause grinding during movement. Over time, this friction can damage the joint. 

Osteoarthritis and hip labrum tears can develop as a result of hip impingement.

Common types of hip impingements are:

  • Cam impingement—a “bump” forms near the head of the femur bone and grinds into the cartilage and labrum at the margin of the hip socket.

  • Pincer impingement—bone extends beyond the normal “socket” pinching the cartilage and causing labral damage.

Hip impingement symptoms

Symptoms of hip impingement are: 

  • Grating hip joint—a feeling of grinding and/or popping when the hip joint moves.

  • Pain—ache or throbbing while moving the hip or legs.

  • Stiffness—in the hip, legs or groin. 

  • Swelling—inflammation in the hip joint.

Hip impingement diagnosis

During your visit, one of our exceptional team members will review your health history and conduct a thorough physical exam. Our team will also order imaging tests to confirm the diagnosis, such as: 

  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)—a diagnostic test that provides detailed images of the patient’s organs and internal body structures. 

  • X-ray—a diagnostic test that provides images of the bones of the hip and pelvis. 

Hip impingement treatment 

Nonsurgical treatment for hip impingement includes: 

  • Modify activities—to rest the hip joint and let it heal. 

  • Nonsteroidal/anti-inflammatory medicine—to help manage pain. 

  • Physical therapy—using movements, manual therapy, exercise therapy and electrotherapy to increase mobility and function. 

  • Steroid injection—to reduce inflammation and pain in the hip joint. 

If these nonsurgical treatments do not provide relief, hip arthroscopy surgery is an option to remove the bone spurs and repair the labrum/cartilage. Your doctor will discuss this treatment path with you, including the risks, benefits and healing time from the surgery. 

Let the orthopedic specialist at The Christ Hospital Health Network diagnose and treat your hip impingement so you can get back to your active lifestyle.

Find a hip specialist near you.