Patients diagnosed with hip impingement syndrome or femoroacetabular impingement (FAI) have hip bones that make unusual contact, which affects the smoothness of movement and range of motion, and can cause discomfort.
A healthy hip joint will have the femoral head (top of the thighbone) fit perfectly into the acetabulum (depression in the pelvis) and the labrum, which is protective cartilage that acts as a seal around the joint. With hip impingement, the femoral head is not fully in the acetabulum due to a deformity of either or both, which damages the labrum. It causes symptoms such as pain and stiffness in the groin and thigh region. Patients with hip impingement syndrome feel pain when bending or sitting for long periods, however not all who have it experience symptoms.
If you’re wondering whether hip impingement is serious, the answer is, yes – especially if you are experiencing symptoms. Your hip joints are one of the most important joints in your body, allowing you to walk and run, and there is no reason to endure symptoms. Let’s talk about why early medical treatment is key to treating hip impingement.
Hip Impingement and Arthritis
Over time, hip impingement symptoms can get worse. The labrum or the protective cartilage can incur damage, which can lead to arthritis. For this reason, hip impingement is considered a pre-arthritic condition as it accelerates the breakdown of cartilage, which is a hallmark feature of arthritis. Eventually, the hip joint becomes damaged, causing severe pain and disability.
Patients diagnosed with hip impingement syndrome can preserve their hip joint through a combination of nonsurgical and surgical treatment methods. Surgery is often recommended if nonsurgical methods have failed to reduce symptoms. The key, however, is early intervention. Orthopedic surgeons can perform arthroscopic surgery, in which they reshape the femoral head, shave down the acetabulum, and fix the damage to the labrum and articular cartilage. Arthroscopy can successfully reduce symptoms of hip impingement for patients who have minimal to moderate damage to the hip joint. For those who have severe damage to the hip joint, arthroscopy may not be as effective.
Who Gets Hip Impingement Syndrome?
Hip impingement syndrome can affect people of all ages, including young adults. It may be due to a congenital defect to the femoral head or acetabulum that predisposes one to hip impingement. Moreover, people with an active lifestyle who engage in sports that require repetitive hip motions such as soccer, hockey, and golf can develop hip impingement from an injury.
Hip Joint Surgery In ND
At The Bone & Joint Center, our board-certified and fellowship-trained physicians are experts in the diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of patients with a wide range of orthopedic conditions. Our very own Dr. Brian P. Dahl, MD, and Dr. Timothy J. Bopp, MD have a special interest in hip and knee surgeries, including surgeries for generalized arthritic conditions, and have helped restore the normal hip function of patients with hip impingement syndrome.
To schedule a consultation with a hip and knee orthopedic surgeon, call The Bone & Joint Center at (701) 946-7400 / (866) 900-8650 or request an appointment online now.