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Hip Impingement And Young Adults: What Should You Know About It?

by Terry Wilson

If your regular doctor diagnoses you with hip impingement, you may wonder how the condition will affect your life, especially if you're a young adult. Hip impingement can cause tremendous pain in your hips over time. In a number of cases, hip impingement can lead to osteoarthritis and other bone conditions when you're older. Learn how hip impingement develops and the treatments available for it.

How Does Hip Impingement Affect You And Is There More Than One Type?

Although hip impingement is a bone condition that develops in people of all ages, it can affect young people the most, especially if they live active lifestyles. Your symptoms may include pain, stiffness, swelling, and inflammation in the joints and soft tissues of your hips. Your hips may even make popping sounds when you walk, bend down or stand up. Performing activities that place stress on your hip joints, such as playing basketball, running or jumping, can make your symptoms feel worse over time.  

Because there are two types of hip impingements, your orthopedic doctor will examine your hips with X-rays and other diagnostic tools to find out which type you have. The first type of hip impingement is pincer impingement. This bone condition forms when the hip socket moves out of place. The bone may protrude out from the body or in toward the pelvic bone. The soft tissues attached to the protruding bone wears away because there isn't enough space available between those tissues and the socket.

The second type of hip impingement is called cam-type impingement. The condition affects the femur, which is the top of the thigh bone. The femur may grow too large to fit inside the hip socket properly. The cartilage, or rubbery tissue that protects joints, breaks down from the pressure placed on it. The breakdown of your hip joints may lead to arthritis in the future.

The treatment provided by an orthopedic doctor or surgeon depends on the severity of your hip impingement. 

What Are Your Treatment Options For Hip Impingement?

The initial treatment for pincer and cam-type hip impingement usually involves physical therapy and pain medication. Physical therapy is used to strengthen the thick muscles and tendons attached to the hip joints. Your treatment may include aquatic therapy and range of motion exercises, which help lubricate the joints. Your doctor prescribes medication to alleviate the pain and inflammation on your hip bones. 

If none of the initial treatments work for you, an orthopedic surgeon can offer surgery. Your surgery options may include arthroscopy, which is designed to remove damaged cartilage from around the joints. A surgeon may also trim the overgrowth of bone tissue from your femurs and smooth out the bone tissue of your hip sockets to help your hip bones fit inside their sockets better. 

The replacement of your damaged hip bones is another treatment option you may consider. However, hip replacement surgery can have a long recovery time because the artificial joints used to replace your natural joints need time to bond with your body's tissues. A surgeon may only offer hip replacement surgery as a last resort, such as when all other treatments fail. If you still want to undergo surgery, it's essential that you sit down with an orthopedic surgeon and discuss whether or not hip replacement is right for you.

Until you and your surgeon decide on the best course of action for your hip impingement, you may want to take it easy. Hip impingement can become worse if you place too much stress on your hips. An orthopedic surgeon may suggest that you take light physical therapy sessions to ease your pain. If you work long hours, you may choose to go on medical leave or cut back on your hours in order to avoid damaging your hip further.    

For more details about your condition and options, consider contacting a professional like those at Town Center Orthopaedic Associates.