What is hip impingement?
Hip impingement is also referred to as Femorocetabular Impingement. The bones are made up of solid, strong tissues that support our bodies. If something compromises the structure of a bone, it can lead to chronic hip pain. This is the problem with hip impingement. Hip impingement is similar to osteoarthritis pain. With impingements, the bones roughly bang up against one another due to an irregular shape of the hip joint and decreased joint space. The bones are too close together when suffering from hip impingement. There are three types of hip impingement:
- Cam: This type of impingement of the hip involves extra bone growing at the top of the thigh bone (femur). This is the ‘ball’ of this ball and socket joint
- Pincer: A Pincer impingement involves extra bone growth at the site of the socket.
- Combined: Both of the above conditions are present
What causes hip impingement?
Hip impingement may be a developmental abnormality that was present when you were born and worsened over the course of your life. A traumatic injury or overuse of the hip can also cause impingement. With hip impingement, anything that alters the development or structure of the femur or pelvis can cause this disorder. Specific causes of hip impingement include the following:
- Abnormal growth of the femur
- Abnormal growth of the pelvic bone
- Overuse of the hip, involving repetitive activity
- Lack of cartilage around the head of the femur
- Direct trauma to the hip bones
- Certain disease which cause abnormal bone development and structure such as Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease and Slipped capital femoral epiphysis (SCFE)
Most cases of hip impingement start from abnormal bone growth, but overuse can also cause this problem. Hip impingements can also lead to arthritis in the hip as well.
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Hip Impingement Symptoms
It can be difficult to tell if the bones are developing normally. Physicians can always check a child’s growth with X-rays and other imaging techniques. However, parents may not see any physical symptoms of unnatural bone development. So, hip impingement symptoms become more noticeable once the condition progresses. Symptoms of chronic hip impingements include:
- Stiffness when standing up or walking
- Limping due to chronic hip pain
- Significant loss of range of motion in the hip
- Hip pain extending into the groin or buttocks, that worsens with activity but may be present at rest in advanced cases
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How to prevent Hip Impingement
Any condition that is onset by abnormal bone development is difficult to prevent. Patients cannot predict if their bones will form normally. Individuals may not recognize they have a hip impingement until they experience chronic pain. As a parent, monitor your child’s growth closely. If any part of your child’s development seems unnatural, consult with an orthopedic physician. For adults, always take care of the joints. Excessive exercise and weak cartilage can cause this hip disorder. Take caution when it comes to your health and growth. Although it may not be possible to completely prevent this condition from developing, there are tips you can implement to lessen the risk. These are:
- Strength-training of the hips and surrounding musculature
- Knowing your limits and taking rest breaks as needed
- Stretching frequently in order to maintain flexibility in the hip joints