Impingement of the hip occurs in teenage or early adult life, and is due to a mismatch between the shape of the hip ball and socket. This irregularity causes high pressures in the joint and may lead to cartilage damage. Patients will have groin pain on rotation of the hip and exercise might be limited as a result. Often they will be diagnosed as having recurrent groin strains.
‘Key-hole’ hip surgery has advanced in recent years and now is more commonly used as an intervention for some hip problems. Hip arthroscopy is a key-hole surgical technique allowing the inside of the joint to be visualised and any cartilage damage to be corrected. The cartilage rim of the socket may be torn and need trimming or repairing. Loose bodies can be removed and any irregularity in the shape of the femoral neck region can be smoothed off, reducing subsequent impingement. This may reduce the chances of subsequently developing osteoarthritis.Hip arthroscopy is done as a day case procedure through three 1 cm incisions at the top of the leg. Pain is usually not severe and wears off within a few days.
It may take 2-3 months to return to full sport and running. Unless there is established osteoarthritis in the joint, the majority of patients make a full recovery.