Hip impingement is medically referred to as Femoroacetabular Impingement (FAI). The femoral head is the top portion of the thigh bone. The acetabulum is the socket which the femoral head fits into. Impingement can occur when the femoral head is not quite round, or if the socket covers too much of the femoral heads; this results in pinching.
Signs & Symptoms
Groin pain on hip flexion
Pain on standing up after prolonged sitting
Limp on walking
Reduced hip range of movement
What Causes It?
A femoral head which is not round and therefore does not fit the socket perfectly
A socket which covers too much of the femoral head, therefore hinders range of movement
How to Self Manage
An x-ray or scan is needed for diagnosis confirmation
Anti-inflammatory medication (if not contraindicated) may be useful for pain relief
An exercise program should be commenced to ensure mobility and strength are optimal.
An x-ray will confirm the diagnosis. MRI or CT scans can highlight other pathologies of the hip such as cysts or cartilage damage.
Conservative management may keep hip pain at bay.
Surgical advice should be sought from a specialist to discuss long term management. Options may include arthroscopic investigation, osteotomy, where bone is reshaped, or in the event of severe degeneration a partial or total hip replacement.
How Physio Helps
Assess the hip for signs of impingement or other pathology
Exclude other structures (lumbar spine, SIJ) as the source of pain
Assess for biomechanical abnormalities or muscle imbalances
Prescribe exercises to maintain mobility and strength
Pilates to increase core stability to reduce load on the hips