When you think of hip impingement, you probably picture a runner struggling to run or a golfer struggling to swing a club. But, hip impingement can affect anyone who performs repetitive movements with their hips, whether they’re a runner, golfer, tennis player, or anyone who works at a desk all day.
If you’ve ever experienced tightness, pain, or a restricted range of motion in your hips, you may be at risk of hip impingement. Even though hip impingement is much more common in runners than in other athletes, it’s still an issue for desk workers who perform repetitive movements with their hips.
Improper hip mechanics during activities like walking, running, and golf can lead to hip impingement. But, with a few adjustments to your routine, you can prevent injury, increase your comfort, and reduce the risk of future problems.
What is Hip Impingement?
Hip impingement occurs when the hip socket becomes impinged. The hip socket is the bony area at the top of your femur (thigh bone) that fits into the hip socket at the top of your pelvis. Impingement occurs when the hip socket is inflamed, degenerative, or otherwise damaged. The condition can be either congenital or acquired.
Congenital (in infancy) hip impingement occurs when the hip joint is wired shut due to an underlying condition like chondrocrania (lack of cartilage in the hip) or dysplasia (abnormal bone growth). Acquired (through injury) hip impingement occurs when the hip joint is damaged through overuse.
Why Do You Get Hip Impingement?
Hip impingement is most common in athletes who perform activities that put stress on the hips, like runners, golfers, and athletes who participate in sports that require repetitive motions, like tennis and baseball players. Other occupations that are also at risk include: athletes who sit for long periods of time (office workers, nursing, sales) people who have a short femur (thinner persons)
Signs and Symptoms of Hip Impingement
If you are suffering from anterior hip impingement, you may not know it. But there are some common symptoms you should look out for: In this article, we take a closer look at anterior hip impingement and its symptoms. We also review treatments for this painful condition.
- Pain while sitting or standing
The first sign that something is wrong is pain while sitting or standing. This pain is usually distinct from any pain while you walk or while you are lying down.
While most cases of anterior hip impingement will cause pain while sitting, it is important to note that there can be other causes for this pain. For example, osteoarthritis can cause pain with sitting, and a number of other conditions can cause pain with standing. So, if you have been experiencing pain while sitting or standing, you should consider getting a diagnosis from your doctor.
- Sharp pain while sitting
This pain is usually in the front of the hip and down the thigh.
Having said that, it is important to distinguish this from the general low-back pain that can occur with almost any medical condition. So, if you have been experiencing sharp pain while sitting, you should also consider getting a diagnosis from your doctor.
- Sharp pain while rising from a seated position
This pain, which is usually sharp and shooting, occurs when you get up from a sitting position.
Again, it is worth noting that this can be due to other causes. So, if you have been experiencing sharp pain while rising from a seated position, you should also consider getting a diagnosis from your doctor.
- Sharp pain while walking
Here, we are talking about sharp pain on the outer side of the thigh while walking. This can feel like burning, aching, or biting.
Again, it is worth noting that this can be due to other causes. So, if you have been experiencing sharp pain while walking and/or other activities that make you use your thigh, you should also consider getting a diagnosis from your doctor.
- Sharp pain with certain shoes
Some research suggests that wearing shoes that increase the amount of pressure on the outer side of the shoe can increase the risk of developing anterior hip impingement.
This means that if you have been experiencing pain with certain shoes, you should also consider getting a diagnosis from your doctor.
- Sharp pain when squatting or rising from a squatting position
This type of pain usually occurs when you are standing up from a squatting or kneeling position.
Again, it is worth noting that this can be due to other causes. So, if you have been experiencing sharp pain while squatting or when you get up from a squatting position, you should also consider getting a diagnosis from your doctor.
- Sharp pain with running
When running, the hip joint is under high stress. This can put people at risk of developing anterior hip impingement.
If you have been experiencing sharp pain while running, you should also consider getting a diagnosis from your doctor.
- Swelling of the thighbone (femur)
This is the upper leg bone (femur), which is the thighbone, growing bigger and harder.
This can occur with anterior hip impingement and usually occurs in people who have had the condition for a long time.
- Pain when lying on the side
This is caused by the hip being aggravated. It is usually sharp and shooting pain, and it can occur at the side of the hip, the upper thigh, or the lower back.
If you are experiencing this type of pain when you lie on the side, you should also consider getting a diagnosis from your doctor.
Other symptoms you need to watch out for include: – Stiffness and weakness in the muscles of the buttocks and lower legs. – Difficulty getting comfortable while sitting or standing.
Causes of anterior hip impingement
The causes of anterior hip impingement are not entirely clear, but it may be linked to several factors, including genetics and anatomy. Some research suggests that anterior hip impingement may occur when the head of the femur is wider than the neck of the femur. This causes the hip socket to be wider in the front than the back, which may be problematic for some people.
Because there are a number of conditions that can cause anterior hip impingement, it is important to get a diagnosis from a doctor. Your doctor will conduct a physical examination and will likely order some diagnostic tests, such as an X-ray and/or an MRI.
How to Avoid Hip Impingement
If you’re a runner, you’ve probably heard that stretching and foam rolling can help with pain and injuries. But, what you may not know is that these two activities can also help prevent hip impingement. The first step is to strengthen your hips.
Strong hips can help reduce the impact of running, walking, and other activities that put stress on your hips. Yoga, Pilates, and other forms of stretching can help with this. Depending on your hip structure, you may also want to consider wearing a belt while doing these exercises.
Treatments for anterior hip impingement
In most cases, conservative treatments are sufficient to treat anterior hip impingement. For example: If you have an injury, you should stop exercising and seek treatment. But people with hip impingement symptoms that are not associated with an injury should also try to rest and reduce physical activity as much as possible.
- Ice. Apply ice to the hip for 20 minutes every four hours as needed for relief.
- Compression. Use a hip compression sleeve or wrap while you are wearing your compression garments.
- Self-care. Take care of yourself by getting enough sleep, drinking plenty of water, and maintaining a healthy diet.
While conservative treatments are usually adequate for treating anterior hip impingement, in some cases, surgery may be necessary. Hip impingement surgery is usually reserved for cases that do not improve with conservative
Reduce the Risk of Hip Impingement
Here are a few tips to help reduce your risk of developing hip impingement: Prioritize stretching and flexibility training. If you’re not already part of a stretching regimen, start now. It may be that what you need is less flexibility and more muscle strength. In any case, stretching will go a long way towards preventing this condition and improving your overall comfort.
- Maintain a healthy diet. Consider adding more vegetables, fruits, and fiber to your diet, as well as whole grains. This will help your body stay hydrated and support healthy digestion.
- Keep your hip joints moving. Get into the habit of performing daily hip flexor and extensor exercises. This will help to keep your hips mobile and flexible and reduce your risk of developing impingement.
- No sitting is better than too much sitting. Although it’s important to maintain good posture, it’s also important not to over do it. Sitting for long periods of time, even while doing desk jobs, can wreak havoc on your hips.
- Keep your hip mobility routine up. Remember to perform daily hip flexor and extensor exercises to keep your hips flexible and mobile.