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Hip Impingement

(See also Labral Tears of the Hip.)

Hip impingement, also known as femoroacetabular impingement, is a condition in which there is abnormal alignment of and contact between the bones that form the ball and socket of the hip joint. The result is increased friction during hip movements that may damage the joint.

Patients often complain of pain in the groin after prolonged sitting or walking. Many athletes often describe pain in the groin with deep flexion or rotation of the hip during activity. Occasionally, a popping or clicking in the front of the hip is described. Pain may also radiate along the side of the thigh and in the buttocks. It is important to rule out other causes of pain in this area which may originate in the low back or abdomen.

Treatment of hip impingement begins with conservative, nonsurgical methods. Rest, activity modifications, careful use of anti-inflammatory medications, and a course of physical therapy are often successful in alleviating symptoms. An injection of the hip joint with anesthetic and steroid can also provide some relief, as well as diagnostic information in patients with symptoms which are unresponsive to treatment. When surgery is necessary, hip impingement can usually be treated with arthroscopic hip surgery.

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