Hip Impingement Q&A with Mr Gorav Datta

Q: What is Hip Impingement?

Hip impingement (the technical term is Femoro-Acetabular Impingement or FAI) is caused when excess bone around the hip joint ‘impinges’ or ‘catches’ and causes pain. Pain is usually felt in the groin and can be worse in certain movements e.g. getting in and out of a car, or bending down. The condition has no specific cause in most cases, it is just the way your hip joint has been made.

Q: Why is it important to treat Hip Impingement?

The condition can cause pain and limitation of activities, e.g. during walking or exercise, or preventing people from being able to work. In a proportion of patients, it is the start of progression to arthritis of the hip joint – this may ultimately require replacing.

Q: How is it diagnosed?

If you have hip or groin pain that is causing pain or limiting your activities then an assessment by a specialist is recommended. This will involve an examination, X-rays and a MRI scan.

Q: What can be done?

If you do not respond to non-operative measures, e.g. activity modification or physiotherapy, then you may require surgery. This involves keyhole surgery (hip arthroscopy) to remove excess bone and repair the lining of the joint which is frequently torn in this condition.

A picture of the hip impingement lesion and how the excess bone is removed

Q: What are the benefits of treatment?

Treating the condition early has the best chance of a good outcome before irreversible damage occurs in the hip joint. If you end up having surgery then the benefits of treatment include pain relief and return to activities.

Removing the impingement can also delay or halt the progression to arthritis of the hip.


Mr Gorav Datta is a Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon at Highgate Private Hospital specialising in hip arthroscopy, knee arthroscopy, knee ligament reconstruction, sports injuries and regenerative orthopaedics.

Date: 04/04/2019
By: gpittson