Treating hip impingement pain

Written by: Mr Adam Cohen
Published: | Updated: 15/06/2020
Edited by: Laura Burgess

Hip impingement is a condition in which there is abnormal contact between the ball and socket of the hip joint during movement of the joint, which triggers pain in both the groin and thigh area. We’ve asked one of our highly-experienced orthopaedic surgeons, Mr Adam Cohen, about the different types of hip impingement, what the pain feels like and what might happen if it is left untreated.

What does hip impingement feel like?

The most common symptoms are a feeling of stiffness in the groin and pain in the thigh and, occasionally, patients will notice clicking or popping sounds from the hip. Patients can sometimes get pain when getting out of a chair or sitting for prolonged periods of time. The problem of hip impingement can be asymptomatic because the shape mismatch may not have caused any damage to the joint.

What are the causes of the condition?

The two main cause of hip impingement are known as cam and pincer impingement. In cam impingement, the ball part of the hip is not completely spherical and this means that the hip joint does not rotate correctly in the socket.

In pincer impingement, the socket covers the head too much and prevents a normal range of motion. Both conditions cause damage to the edge of the socket which results in pain. It is not always clear what causes the problem but childhood hip diseases can be responsible in some cases.

What is the correlation between hip impingement and osteoarthritis?

It is generally understood that if left alone, hip impingement (particularly cam-type) will eventually result in osteoarthritis of the hip. The point at which the hip impingement is treated will determine whether the onset of arthritis can be prevented or potentially delayed.

Are there any exercises to do at home that can bring pain relief?

There are no specific exercises which can bring pain relief for hip impingement however it is always helpful for patients to see a physiotherapist in the early stages. Avoidance of activities which bring on the symptoms is important. If the symptoms are not improving then early consultation with a hip specialist is essential.

Is surgery always necessary to heal hip impingement?

If damage has started to occur within the joint as a result of hip impingement then surgery is highly likely to be required. If investigations show deformities of the bone anatomy of the joint then leaving that alone will not result in an improvement in the symptoms. Of course, if the cause of the hip pain is not due to impingement then surgery may not be required.


If you're worried about your hip pain, book an appointment to see Mr Cohen now via his Top Doctor's profile and he'll give you his expert advice. 

By Mr Adam Cohen
Orthopaedic surgery

Mr Adam Cohen is a renowned consultant orthopaedic and trauma surgeon who sub-specialises in lower limb reconstructive surgery, particularly for the hip and knee. With a career spanning over 20 years, he has garnered a leading level of expertise and at present, he attends private patients at the well-known hospitals of Spire Hospital Norwich and James Paget University Hospital Private Patient Unit.

With his advanced skills and knowledge, he is able to assist patients with their hip replacements, knee replacements, the revision of hip and knee replacements, hip arthroscopy, knee arthroscopy and foot surgery. Among these patients are those with sports injuries and young adults with hip problems who may be interested in joint preservation surgery.

Not only does he dedicate his career to giving the utmost quality of care for his NHS and private patients, but also to research. His interests centre on hip and knee reconstruction and this work has been presented at national and international conferences. Furthermore, his research papers have been published as textbook chapters and have featured in prestigious scientific journals. What's more, he teaches surgical techniques to trainees, other consultants and physiotherapists.

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