What are the different types of hip impingement?

Written by: Mr Dean Michael
Edited by: Laura Burgess

Hip impingement (or femoroacetabluar impingement) is a common cause of hip problems, especially in those who play a lot of sports, either casually or competitively. Hip impingement is becoming increasingly recognised and occurs when there is abnormal contact between the ball and the socket, which results in increased friction and potential damage to the hip joint.

Here, one of our top orthopaedic surgeons Mr Dean Michael discusses the two main types of structural disorder that can occur in people of all ages, including adolescents and young adults.


What causes hip impingement?

Hip impingement is pain caused by the neck of the femur “bumping” on the rim of the socket and thanks to repetitive bumping, cartilage damage and arthritis eventually occurs. Some people may have been born with a structurally abnormal ball and socket joint.

In others, a repetitive activity involving the recurrent movement of the legs beyond the normal range of motion, seen in sports such as tennis, football and golf, can lead to hip impingement.

Read more: hip problems in young adults

What are the different types of hip impingement?

There are essentially two types, CAM and pincer, with the former more common in men and the latter in women:

  • CAM impingement - With CAM impingement the problem is caused by a bony bump (or CAM) on the front of the neck of the femur. Internal rotation of the leg is often reduced and can cause great discomfort and distress when carrying out everyday tasks such as getting into a car, bending down to sit on a low chair or even putting on one’s shoes.


  • Pincer impingement – This is where impingement is caused by a prominent rim of the socket. Symptoms are not as acute, with often a generalised ache or dull pain in the hip region. Highly active women with a slender body shape will often experience such symptoms due to the extremes of movement they can produce, especially when undergoing sport or any other physical activity.

In the early stages, the symptoms of hip impingement may be mild. Misdiagnosis is quite common as standard X-rays of the affected area often look normal. Therefore, the correct diagnosis of the condition can often take up to two years although, nowadays, hip impingement is becoming increasingly recognised.

Do not hesitate to book an appointment with Mr Michael at the Surrey Orthopaedic Clinic if you’re experiencing persistent hip pain.

By Mr Dean Michael
Orthopaedic surgery

Mr Dean Michael is a consultant orthopaedic surgeon with a specialist interest in all types of lower limb surgery. Mr Michael sees patients with a range of conditions including ankle injuries, bunions, sports injuries, and osteoarthritis, offering surgical treatments from hip resurfacing and ankle ligament surgery to full hip and knee replacements.

Mr Michael originally qualified from St Bartholomew's Hospital in 1994 then undertook specialist training in hip and knee surgery at The Middlesex Hospital and The Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital. He completed a specialist Hip and Knee Surgery Fellowship in Australia in 2005, before returning to the UK to take up the post of Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon at St Peter's Hospital, Chertsey, where he works to this day.

In 2011, Mr Michael became the director of the Surrey Orthopaedic Clinic. The Surrey Orthopaedic Clinic works across major hospitals in Surrey and London, bringing together a UK-qualified team of specialists to provide a complete package of high-quality musculoskeletal care. Mr Michael is also a member of the British Orthopaedic Association, the British Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society, and the British Hip Society.

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