Hip Impingement Syndrome Pain can Lead to Hip Arthritis

Hip Impingement Syndrome is a cause of achy groin and hip pain. It occurs due to abnormal contact between the surfaces of ball shaped head of the femur and socket shaped acetabulum which forms the Hip Joint. Both surfaces are covered with articular cartilage which creates frictionless movement within the joint. In addition to this, a strong fibrocartilage material called Labrum sits along the rim of the acetabulum socket to increase hip joint stability. A Hip Impingement involves a bone spur (small lump on a bone) forming on the head of the femur or socket of Acetabulum. This bone spur causes the two boney surfaces of acetabulum and femur head to grate against each other rather than gliding smoothly during hip movement leading to movement restriction and Pain. Overtime Labrum and osteoarthritis can develop. This boney spur defects occur due to previous joint trauma, poor positioning of femur head, extreme squatting and twisting movements or other Hip abnormalities since birth.

Signs & Symptoms

  • Groin pain and occasional pain in the outside area of the hip

  • Pain can be described as a Dull Ach or occasional Sharp stabbing pain

  • Patient may experience sharp pain when twisting & turning or when sitting down on lower surfaces.

  • A catching sensation can be noted during activity

  • Pain can be worse are a period of prolonged sitting

  • Difficulty tying shoe Laces

  • Abnormal swaying motion of the body from their left side to their right side during walking


Hip Impingement Syndrome because of its pain symptoms is often misdiagnosed by the patient themselves as arthritis, however it is not arthritis but a boney spur abnormality. It may lead to Osteoarthrits within the joint, if the boney spur is allowed to continue causing grating between the two surfaces within the joint. Hence there is a dilemma of whether surgery or physical therapy is required. The answer lies with the degree of the impingement as highlighted by MRI scans and the level of symptoms. In some Patients avoidance of deep squatting positions and heavy rotational movements coupled with improving their core stability and movement control, strengthening muscles of the Hip Joint can help to relieve symptoms, however the boney spur will continue to be present and the Patient may decide to opt for surgery in the future.

Tomás Ryan is a Registered Physical Therapist with The Irish Association of Physical Therapy and is based in Thurles. Contact Number: 0504 26672. Email: tomaspryan@gmail.com

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Physiotherapy & Injury Rehabilitation Clinic in Tipperary

0504 26672


The Surgery, Fianna Road, Thurles


Riverside Medical Centre, 7 Upper

Irishtown, Clonmel

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