Hip impingement

The hip is a ball-and-socket joint. The ball at the top of the leg bone is called the femoral ball. It fits into the socket, called the acetabulum, which is in the pelvis bone.

Hip impingement occurs when either the ball or the socket has an abnormal shape that makes the two bones impinge or bump against each other. This causes damage to the hip joint.


Hip impingement may cause a general ache around the hip, or it could cause more specific types of pain, such as:

  • Pain deep in the groin
  • Pain on the outside of the hip
  • Pain during movements such as twisting or squatting

Causes and risk factors

Hip impingement is caused by bones that did not grow normally during childhood.

Treatment options

If the pain from hip impingement is not severe, your doctor may recommend resting the hip and taking anti-inflammatory medicine such as ibuprofen.

If your hip impingement pain does not go away or if it becomes worse, your doctor may want to take X-rays to find out what part of your hip is causing the pain.

Hip impingement is sometimes treated with arthroscopic surgery, which involves the doctor inserting instruments into small incisions near your hip and trimming parts of the bones that are rubbing together. Alternatively, an open ‘surgical hip dislocation’ surgery may be recommended if there is a significant hip impingement deformity.

Last reviewed: 
July 2016
Alternative Names: 
Femoro acetabular impingement

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