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One of the most serious injuries you can have at work is hip impingement. It really affects all that you do and can derail your life. It’s really common for truck drivers given the dangers of the trucks and the unique job duties. It also happens on many other jobs that are heavy duty. It’s important to know what you are dealing with and work with an attorney who understands this serious problem. The following is an overview on hip impingement.
What is hip impingement?
The hip joint is a ball and socket joint that attaches the femur (thighbone) to the pelvis. Hip impingement or femoroacetabular impingement (FAI) is a condition that occurs when the ball of the hip (femoral head) pinches up against the cup of the hip (acetabulum, part of the pelvis). This pinching, or friction, can damage the cartilage that surrounds the acetabulum and cause hip stiffness and pain. If untreated, it can lead to arthritis or joint deterioration.
There are two main types of FAI: one where the ball of the hip is deformed, and the other where the cup of the hip is abnormally shaped. It is also possible to have a combination of these two types.
What causes hip impingement/FAI?
The exact cause is usually unknown. For some people, it seems that the abnormal shape of the ball of the hip or the cup of the hip has been there since birth. For others, the abnormal shape develops over time. Job activities that involve a lot of twisting of the hip, bending at the hip or waist, or squatting can lead to hip impingement.
One example we have seen is a commercial truck driver who has to repeatedly lift his leg up 20 or more inches to step into the cab of his truck. Due to that height, he is regularly raising his knee above his hip. Performing his job duties has either caused or aggravated a hip impingement, so he can file a claim for workers compensation.
What are the symptoms of hip impingement/FAI?
Most people with hip impingement experience:
- Hip pain that worsens during physical activity or after sitting for long periods.
- Stiffness in the groin or front of the thigh.
How is hip impingement/FAI diagnosed?
Physicians diagnose hip impingement based on a number of factors that might include:
- Medical history (e.g., family history, activity levels).
- Physical exam to assess your range of motion, muscle strength, and the way you walk.
- Impingement test where the doctor brings your knee up to your chest and brings it to your opposite shoulder.
- Imaging tests such as X-rays and MRIs to examine the bones and soft tissue and identify damage in the hip joint.
How is hip impingement/FAI treated?
Your physician may first take a conservative approach to treat your FAI. That may include rest and restricting your job duties or activities. It may also involve anti-inflammatory medicines, epidural injections and physical therapy. However, if your pain does not go away, surgery may be needed.
What if my hip impingement/FAI is related to my job?
You may be entitled to workers’ compensation if your job duties have caused or aggravated a hip impingement. This would compensate you for your time off of work and all of your medical bills and you’d be entitled to a settlement for the extent of your injury. Every person’s situation is unique, so if you would like to speak with an attorney for free and in confidence, please contact us at any time.