Hip impingement occurs when the ball and socket of the hip joint don't fit together properly. The restricted motion damages cartilage and can cause pain and arthritis in young adults.

In some cases, the ball is too misshapen to fit properly into the socket. Sometimes, the exterior edge of the socket extends to the point that it covers too much of the ball. Hip impingement also can be caused by a combination of these two problems.

Most people with hip impingement experience pain in the groin area during or after flexing the hip, as when running, jumping or sitting for a long time. You may also have difficulty flexing your hip beyond a right angle.

Surgery may be required to prevent further hip injury.

  • Collaboration. At Mayo Clinic, specialists from orthopedic surgery, sports medicine, and physical medicine and rehabilitation work together to get you moving again without pain.
  • Experience. Each year, Mayo Clinic doctors diagnose and treat hundreds of people who have hip impingement.
  • Advanced techniques. At Mayo Clinic, you have access to the latest imaging technology to pinpoint the source of your hip pain. Mayo surgeons are skilled in the latest techniques to correct hip impingement.
  • Efficient care. At Mayo Clinic, you can be evaluated for hip impingement and receive test results and a surgery date within one to two days.

Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Ariz., are ranked among the Best Hospitals for orthopedics by U.S. News & World Report. Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Fla., is ranked high performing for orthopedics by U.S. News & World Report.

At Mayo Clinic, we assemble a team of specialists who take the time to listen and thoroughly understand your health issues and concerns. We tailor the care you receive to your personal health care needs. You can trust our specialists to collaborate and offer you the best possible outcomes, safety and service.

Mayo Clinic is a not-for-profit medical institution that reinvests all earnings into improving medical practice, research and education. We're constantly involved in innovation and medical research, finding solutions to improve your care and quality of life. Your doctor or someone on your medical team is likely involved in research related to your condition.

Our patients tell us that the quality of their interactions, our attention to detail and the efficiency of their visits mean health care — and trusted answers — like they've never experienced.

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During the physical exam, your doctor will move your legs into a variety of positions, to see if any of these positions reproduce your pain. He or she may also order one or more of the following imaging tests:

  • X-rays. This technology uses small amounts of radiation to produce images of your internal structures. X-rays visualize bones much better than soft tissues.
  • Computerized tomography (CT) scan. A CT scanner takes X-rays from many different angles and combines them to create cross-sectional images of the bones and soft tissues within your body. It provides much more detail than do plain X-rays.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Using radio waves and a strong magnet, MRI is especially good at visualizing soft tissues.

At Mayo Clinic, tests are scheduled quickly and results are typically available within 24 hours. Efficient testing helps Mayo specialists quickly arrive at a diagnosis, so your treatment can begin as soon as possible.

Mayo Clinic specialists may recommend surgery to correct hip impingement and prevent further hip damage. The type of surgery depends on the severity of your problem and your age and overall health. Mayo specialists are skilled in a wide variety of surgical procedures used to treat hip impingement.

If your hip impingement is mild or moderate, Mayo Clinic specialists may recommend arthroscopic surgery, in which the repair is performed through several small incisions instead of one large one. A tiny camera is inserted through one of the incisions, so the surgeon can see inside the hip.

The goal of surgery is to remove the extra bone or misplaced cartilage that's causing the hip impingement. More-severe cases may require open procedures, where longer incisions are used so that the surgeon can view the joint directly and have easier access.

Mayo Clinic works with hundreds of insurance companies and is an in-network provider for millions of people. In most cases, Mayo Clinic doesn't require a physician referral. Some insurers require referrals or may have additional requirements for certain medical care. All appointments are prioritized on the basis of medical need.

Specialists in orthopedic surgery at Mayo Clinic's campus in Phoenix/Scottsdale, Arizona, perform hip impingement surgery. Specialists in physical medicine and rehabilitation and sports medicine also may be involved in your care.

For appointments or more information, call the Central Appointment Office at 800-446-2279 (toll-free) 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mountain Standard Time, Monday through Friday or complete an online appointment request form.

Specialists in orthopedic surgery at Mayo Clinic's campus in Jacksonville, Florida, perform hip impingement surgery. Specialists in physical medicine and rehabilitation and sports medicine also may be involved in your care.

For appointments or more information, call the Central Appointment Office at 904-953-0853 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern time, Monday through Friday or complete an online appointment request form.

Specialists in orthopedic surgery at Mayo Clinic's campus in Rochester, Minnesota, perform hip impingement surgery. Specialists in physical medicine and rehabilitation and sports medicine also may be involved in your care.

For appointments or more information, call the Central Appointment Office at 507-538-3270 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Central time, Monday through Friday or complete an online appointment request form.

See information on patient services at the three Mayo Clinic locations, including transportation options and lodging.

Researchers in Mayo Clinic's Motion Analysis Laboratory are working to improve diagnosis and treatment of hip problems. Projects are evaluating:

  • Results of hip resurfacing versus hip replacement surgeries
  • Improvement in hip range of motion after hip impingement treatment
  • Two different minimally invasive surgical approaches for hip replacement
  1. Aaron J. Krych, M.D.
  2. Bruce A. Levy, M.D.
  3. Mark W. Pagnano, M.D.
  4. Rafael J. Sierra, M.D.
  5. Robert T. Trousdale, M.D.

See a list of publications by Mayo authors on hip impingement on PubMed, a service of the National Library of Medicine.

June 24, 2015