Signs That Your Hip Pain Could Be Hip Impingement

Signs That Your Hip Pain Could Be Hip Impingement

Hip impingement is a relatively common cause of hip pain, affecting up to 15% of the population. But despite its prevalence, lots of people don’t know what hip impingement is or what symptoms it can cause.

A top-rated orthopedic surgeon in Houston, Texas, Joshua D. Harris, MD, has extensive experience in diagnosing and treating hip impingement and its symptoms. Here’s what symptoms he wants his patients to know about — as well as how hip impingement is treated.

Hip impingement: The basics

Hip impingement typically happens when a deformity in the hip joint interferes with the way the joint functions. In a healthy hip joint, the top of the thigh bone (femur) forms a rounded ball shape. This ball fits snugly into a socket-shaped depression called the acetabulum.

Femoroacetabular impingement (FAI) happens when either the ball or the socket (or both) is deformed. When the femur head is deformed, it’s called a cam impingement. When impingement involves the acetabulum, it’s called pincer impingement. About 86% of people who have impingement have a combination of both cam and pincer impingement.

Ischiofemoral impingement is another type of hip impingement that happens when the soft tissue between your hip and thigh bone gets pinched or compressed in the back of your hip underneath your gluteus maximus buttock muscle. 

Cam hip impingement is not usually present at birth and generally forms during growth and development between 7 and 16 years of age. While mild deformities may never cause symptoms, many activities, including many sports, can cause symptoms to flare up.

Signs of hip impingement

Since hip impingement is a mechanical problem (“square peg in a round hole”) causes extra friction and compression or pinching of the soft tissues around the joint (the most common cause of hip labral tears and most common cause of hip arthritis), it’s no wonder that people who have hip impingement can also have a lot of uncomfortable symptoms, including:

The type of symptoms, location, and severity can all vary depending upon the type and degree of impingement you have.

Relieving painful symptoms

Although hip impingement is caused by a deformity in the joint, it frequently can improve without surgical treatment to change that deformity. Education and physical therapy are the best non-surgical treatment options. Once impingement symptoms develop though, they frequently will not completely go away on their own without surgery..

Typically, treating hip impingement involves a surgical procedure to restore the joint. To treat hip impingement, Dr. Harris performs minimally invasive arthroscopic surgery using state-of-the-art techniques associated with faster recovery and less postoperative discomfort.

The importance of early management

If you have hip pain, especially mild symptoms, it may be tempting to ignore them. But FAI is associated with a significantly increased risk of hip arthritis, a major cause of hip disability. Having hip impingement diagnosed early is crucial for preventing the progression of joint damage that can eventually lead to debilitating arthritis.

If you have hip pain or related symptoms, don’t put off treatment. Call 713-441-8393 or book an appointment online with Dr. Joshua Harris today.

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