Reviewed by: Mr Vikas Khanduja

What is hip impingement?

Hip impingement, also known as femoroacetabular impingement, occurs when there is painful contact between the head of the femur (ball) and the acetabulum (socket) of the hip, which can result in a labral tear and breakdown of articular cartilage. 

If this remains untreated it may lead to osteoarthritis.

What are the symptoms of hip impingement?

Hip impingement is usually seen in young adults (15-55) who suffer with deep-seated groin pain that worsens during activities that require deep bending and rotation, such as sitting in a car for long periods, and causes a limited range of movement. . 

The pain can radiate to the knee and may cause mechanical symptoms such as locking, clicking and grinding in the hip.

How is hip impingement diagnosed?

Groin pain can come from either the hip, the soft tissue structures in the abdomen, or the muscles and ligaments around the hip. A comprehensive clinical and radiological examination is essential to confirm a diagnosis.

Your hip will be X-rayed to assess bone anatomy and an MRI will be performed to assess the cartilage and muscles around the hip. These will be followed by a CT scan to check for impingement.

Finally, a diagnostic hip injection is performed to determine if the pain is emanating from within the hip joint or from outside the hip.

What are the treatments for hip impingement?

Treatment may start with physiotherapy and, depending on the outcome, you may be advised to have a hip arthroscopy. Treatment is highly personalised to suit your specific needs and will focus on the best course of treatment to get you back to a healthy, active lifestyle..