Femoroacetabular impingement causes pain in the hip in young adults and may predispose to the development of osteoarthritis. Genetic factors are important in the aetiology of osteoarthritis of the hip and may have a role in that of femoroacetabular impingement. We compared 96 siblings of 64 patients treated for primary impingement with a spouse control group of 77 individuals. All the subjects were screened clinically and radiologically using a standardised protocol for the presence of cam and pincer deformities and osteoarthritis. The siblings of those patients with a cam deformity had a relative risk of 2.8 of having the same deformity (66 of 160 siblings hips versus 23 of 154 control hips, p < 0.00001). The siblings of those patients with a pincer deformity had a relative risk of 2.0 of having the same deformity (43 of 116 sibling hips versus 29 of 154 control hips, p = 0.001). Bilateral deformity occurred more often in the siblings (42 of 96 siblings versus 13 of 77 control subjects, relative risk 2.6, p = 0.0002). The prevalence of clinical features in those hips with abnormal morphology was also greater in the sibling group compared with the control group (41 of 109 sibling hips versus 7 of 46 control hips, relative risk 2.5, p = 0.007). In 11 sibling hips there was grade-2 osteoarthritis according to Kellgren and Lawrence versus none in the control group (p = 0.002). Genetic influences are important in the aetiology of primary femoroacetabular impingement. This risk appears to be manifested through not only abnormal joint morphology, but also through other factors which may modulate progression of the disease.