What is hip impingement?

Hip impingement, or femoral acetabular impingement syndrome (FAIS), occurs when there’s a conflict between the bone of the ball on the femur (thigh bone) and the acetabulum (socket bone in the pelvis).

What causes hip impingement?

When a mechanical conflict occurs between the bone of the ball on the femur and acetabulum, it can cause damage to the hip labrum, which typically forms a suction seal around the hip joint, as well as the cartilage that’s inside the socket and on the surface of the femoral head. This damage can lead to tearing of the labrum.

What are the symptoms of hip impingement?

The symptoms of hip impingement include:

  • Deep pain in the front part of the hip and down into the groin area
  • Pain that radiates toward the deep buttock area
  • Catching, grinding and other mechanical-type pain with certain movements
  • Pain that worsens with certain activities, such as walking, twisting and getting in and out of a car

How is hip impingement diagnosed?

Diagnosing hip impingement begins with Ohio State Sports Medicine experts gathering a detailed medical history and physical examination. We’ll see what types of activities and motions seem to provoke more pain.

X-rays are typically part of the initial evaluation to help solidify diagnosis and rule out other significant problems. Ultrasound-guided injections are used for diagnostic purposes when the pain source isn’t clear enough to confirm diagnosis. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is used to look at cartilage, labrum and soft tissues in the hip to corroborate evidence gathered from medical history, physical exams, X-rays and possible injections.

How is hip impingement treated?

Many people who have hip impingement don’t need surgery to relieve pain, improve motion, improve hip function and regain the functions of work, play and daily life. Nonsurgical treatment includes rest, anti-inflammatory medication and physical therapy (at home and/or formally led by a physical therapist). Cortisone injections are sometimes used for additional pain relief.

If nonsurgical options fail, surgeons at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center can perform minimally invasive arthroscopic repair using a camera and small incisions.

Why choose Ohio State for hip impingement treatment?

The Ohio State Wexner Medical Center specializes in the most advanced treatment options for hip impingement.

The Ohio State Wexner Medical Center’s integrated hip team includes surgeons, sport medicine physicians, physical therapists, clinic staff, administrative staff and a research team who specialize in these types of injuries and treatments. Orthopedic experts at the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center lead medical research to improve hip treatment and determine more specific causes for injuries.

Our patients also have the unique opportunity to receive new, novel treatments, such as orthobiologic treatments like platelet-rich plasma, and to participate in clinical trials of newly developed therapies.

Learn more about what to expect during your orthopedic procedure


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