Understanding Hip Impingement and Its Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

woman having pain in her hip

Hip impingement is a structural dysfunction of the hip, which can happen to anyone, no matter what age. Typically, the rounded crown of the person’s thigh bone (femoral head) connects directly to the hip socket (acetabular socket). Both parts connect so smoothly that the femoral head almost glides within the cavity. A delicate layer of smooth cartilage covers the ball and the socket, which also protects the bones from friction and damage.

Experts say that the trauma from repeated hip flexion injuries damages the thin layer of cartilage; therefore, leading to hip impingement. But how does it happen?

Primary causes of hip impingement

There are several reasons a person develops hip impingement. Washington University Orthopedics says that misshapen femoral head can cause a person to acquire such a condition. Meanwhile, deformed femoral neck or even a hip socket that covers a significant portion of the femoral head can also cause this condition.

Experts say that people diagnosed with hip impingement may have developed an abnormal structure of the ball-and-socket joint even while they were in the womb. Any repeated movement that involves the legs that’s more than the normal range of the person’s action can cause hip impingement to occur. A physical injury can also cause hip dysfunction.

Symptoms of hip impingement

The main signs of hip impingement are so subtle that there are people who’ve had it for years but don’t even know it. That’s because it’s often not painful during its early stages. During the first couple of years, you’ll only feel pain every time you move your hips near its limitations. As the dysfunction progresses, you’ll soon start to feel it when doing subtle movements. Movements can vary from sitting for an extended period to walking in an uphill spot. Others feel it every night or even when they’re walking on any flat surface.

Treating hip impingement

othopedic explaining the x-ray of her patient

There are several ways to treat this type of condition. But like everything else, it starts with getting enough rest. You need to limit the use of the affected area so that it can rest for a while. You can do that by altering your activities as recommended by any of your physicians.

In addition, asking advice from experienced orthopedic doctors in Provo, Utah and other locations can help you determine the right exercise for your condition. Meanwhile, if the pain is already beyond your pain tolerance, you can ask them for any anti-inflammatory drug or medication to alleviate the discomfort.

If any of the treatments aren’t helping you with the pain, the doctor may recommend that you undergo a hip impingement surgery. The intensiveness of the operation will depend on the cause of the problem. Another factor is the extent of its damage to the cartilage.

Learning as much as you can about hip impingement can help you treat it if ever it happens. If you feel any of the symptoms, it’s best to see your doctor immediately. Doing so will make it easier for you to get the right treatment.