One of the main reasons we are bringing up hip impingement today is its sneaky nature. Since it is not painful in its early stages, many people live with it for years, thinking everything is fine and that they are 100% healthy.
Until the day they feel sharp pain in their hip after being seated for a long period of time or getting out of their car. The condition can also lead to osteoarthritis, and if you do experience hip pain when sitting you should speak to a medical professional as soon as possible.
The Anatomy Of The Hip
The hip is where the thigh bone (femur) meets your pelvis. Believe it or not, hip joint is second most mobile joint in the human body (second only to shoulder joint) because of the specific way it is built. This type of joint is called ball-and-socket joint because the ball-like top of the thigh bone (femur head) fits into the cup-like area on the pelvis (acetabulum).
There are other structures connecting and stabilizing the joint, but we are currently most interested in the femur neck and acetabulum. Normally, there is enough space between the two to allow full range of motion.
But if there is an anatomical anomaly present they can bump into each other, limit the range of motion and cause pain. Common causes for this anatomical anomalies are:
But even people with no anatomical anomalies might suffer from hip impingement, if they increase their flexibility to the extreme.
Diagnosing Hip Impingement Syndrome
The syndrome can be relatively easily diagnosed based on your description of the symptoms and physical examination. Other common symptoms include:
- Groin pain associated with physical activity
- Painful clicking in the joint
- Reduced range of motion
In addition, your doctor will probably order imaging tests, just to make sure. These include:
- MRI or
- A CT scan
So Why Do You Have Hip Pain When Sitting?
We already stated that there is a natural gap between the hip bone and top of the femur. Sitting (or raising your leg forward) will reduce this gap but there will still be enough room for everything to function normally. If there is an anomaly present, the bones will actually rub against each other, cause pain and damage the hip joint.
So, the longer you sit, the longer will bones be in contact, rubbing against one another while causing pain.
How To Treat It?
Non surgical treatment for hip pain when sitting will involve changing your routine – avoiding activities which cause pain, in combination with physical therapy and medication.
Surgical treatment usually steps in when physical therapy is not enough to relieve pain. In this case, arthroscopic surgery is required, where the surgeon will make small incisions, insert a small camera (called arthroscope) to try and pinpoint the anomaly and address/remove it.
Keep in mind that it is still unknown whether the surgery can prevent or even delay osteoarthritis, there is still some research to be done concerning this issue.