Hip impingement is a disorder caused by a lack of room, or clearance, between the head and neck of the femur and the rim of the acetabulum. Due to this lack of clearance, when the hip is flexed, as in many common activities like running, sitting or bending over, the femur and the rim of the acetabulum rub together, causing significant pain in the joint. As a result of extensive contact between the femur and acetabulum, the labrum may suffer damage, slowly degenerate, and may even cause arthritis in the hip over time.
Hip impingement is more common in athletic men, and any athletic or strenuous activity may further aggravate pain in the groin area caused by impingement. Remaining in a stationary seated position for extended periods of time may also aggravate the condition. If conservative treatments are unable to relieve the pain you feel from hip impingement, your doctor may recommend arthroscopic surgery.
The labrum is a layer of fibrous cartilage that lines the rim of the socket in which the ball of the femur sits. This cartilage provides cushioning for the joint and keeps the femur in place. A tear in the labrum can result either from injury or from degeneration due to impingement or other joint conditions.
In some cases, labral tears are not significant enough to cause symptoms and therefore don't require surgical treatment. But occasionally they can cause symptoms such as locking or "catching" in the joint and pain in the hip or groin area.
Since labral tears are often difficult to detect during a physical examination, your doctor may use magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) with a dye injection to confirm the diagnosis. Once the diagnosis is confirmed, arthroscopic hip surgery may be recommended.