Hip impingement (Femoroacetabular impingement)


Hip impingement occurs when the ball and socket of the hip joint don’t fit together properly. The restricted motion damages cartilage and can cause a labral tear, resulting in pain and arthritis in young adults.

In some cases, the ball is too misshapen to fit properly into the socket. Sometimes, the exterior edge of the socket extends to the point that it covers too much of the ball. Hip impingement also can be caused by a combination of these two problems.

Most people with hip impingement experience pain in the groin area during or after flexing the hip, as when running, jumping, or sitting for a long time. You may also have difficulty flexing your hip beyond a right angle.

Seek immediate care if any injury to your hip or chronic pain causes signs or symptoms of a hip impingement or labral tear. The hip joint is a complex structure and the same injury mechanism can damage the labrum and articular cartilage. It’s important to get a prompt and accurate diagnosis to determine the severity of the injury and get proper treatment.

There are a number of factors that increase your risk of hip impingement and labral tear, including:

  • Certain sports, such as hockey and football
  • Laxity in the hip joints, especially in dancers and gymnasts

At Mayo Clinic, specialists from orthopedic surgery, sports medicine, and physical medicine and rehabilitation work together to get you moving again without pain.

At Mayo Clinic, you have access to the latest imaging technology to pinpoint the source of your hip pain. You can receive test results and a surgery date promptly. Mayo surgeons are skilled in the latest techniques to correct hip impingement, including minimally invasive options. Examples include:

  • Labrum repair and reconstruction. These procedures affect the ring of cartilage (labrum) that follows the outside rim of the hip socket
  • Decompression. This type of procedure reshapes the ball of the joint to help it fit more properly into the hip socket
  • Osteotomy. Surgery on the pelvis can adjust the angle of the socket to help the ball fit more securely within the joint

Nationally recognized expertise

Each year, Mayo Clinic doctors diagnose and treat more than 2,000 people who have hip impingement.

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