Nonsurgical Treatment for Hip Impingement Syndrome

NYU Langone doctors may recommend pain relief medication and physical therapy, in addition to avoiding activities that require repeated hip rotation, to treat the symptoms of hip impingement syndrome. Although nonsurgical treatments do not address the cause of hip impingement syndrome—the structural abnormalities of the bones in the hip—sometimes they are all that’s needed to relieve pain, improve function in the hip, and allow you to avoid having surgery.

Activity Modification

Some activities—particularly those that require repeated rotation of the hip, such as golf, baseball, or ballet—may increase friction between the bones of the hip and cause sharp pain in the hip or groin. By avoiding these, you may be able to participate in many other activities without experiencing any symptoms.

Pain Relief Medication

If hip impingement syndrome causes aching pain and limits your ability to move without discomfort, your doctor may recommend an over-the-counter pain relief medication. Many doctors recommend acetaminophen or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which include aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen. These medications are taken by mouth.

Acetaminophen blocks pain signals that travel from the site of an inflamed joint to the brain. NSAIDs relieve the pain and swelling that result when the body’s immune system responds to joint damage. Many people find that these medications alleviate aching and stiffness, making movement easier and helping them remain active.

Acetaminophen is safe in moderate doses, but long-term use at high doses has been linked with liver damage. NSAIDs may also cause side effects, such as high blood pressure, headaches, stomach upset that sometimes leads to stomach ulcers, and kidney disease. Your doctor can explain the risks and recommend a safe regimen for you based on your symptoms, age, and other medical conditions.

If over-the-counter medications don’t work to relieve pain and stiffness from hip impingement within a certain amount of time, your doctor may prescribe a stronger pain relief medication.

Physical Therapy

NYU Langone physiatrists, who specialize in rehabilitation medicine, and physical therapists at Rusk Rehabilitation are specially trained to help people with hip impingement syndrome use simple stretching and strength-building exercises to improve flexibility, range of motion, and overall hip joint function.

In particular, building strength in core muscle groups—including those in the abdomen and back—provides extra support for your hips. It also takes some of the stress off the hip joints when you walk and exercise.

Our specialists can also identify movements that should be avoided, such as turning, twisting, and squatting. These increase friction between the bones in the joint and may cause pain.

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