Hip morphological characteristics and range of internal rotation in femoroacetabular impingement

Am J Sports Med. 2012 Jun;40(6):1329-36. doi: 10.1177/0363546512441328. Epub 2012 Apr 2.


Background: Radiographic features specifically related to the occurrence of femoroacetabular impingement (FAI) appear to be highly prevalent in the asymptomatic population. It remains unclear, however, how these incidental findings should be interpreted clinically and which other variables might differentiate between true incidental findings and preclinical patients.

Purpose: To study the association between cam and overall hip morphological characteristics and range of motion in impingement patients, asymptomatic patients (healthy patients with radiographic features specific to FAI), and healthy controls.

Study design: Cross-sectional study; Level of evidence, 3.

Methods: Morphological parameters describing cam and overall hip anatomy were obtained from 30 patients (10 per subgroup) with use of 3-dimensional computational methods. In addition, the range of internal rotation in high flexion activities was evaluated, and its relation to hip morphological variables was analyzed in a multivariate regression model.

Results: Size of the cam lesion and range of motion significantly differed between groups (P < .05). The range of internal rotation on impingement testing was found to average 27.9° in the healthy control group compared with 21.1° in the asymptomatic control group with radiographic features specific to FAI (P < .001) and 12.3° in the patient group (P < .001). Cam size, acetabular coverage, and femoral version appeared to be predictive variables for the range of internal rotation. Seventy-five percent of variance between patients could be attributed to the combined effect of these 3 variables (R = .86). The range of motion was decreased in cam patients and asymptomatic patients, and early femoroacetabular conflict was not restricted to the area of the cam lesion but involved the entire anterior femoral head-neck junction.

Conclusion: Decreased range of motion, as found in FAI, is not solely dependent on the size or even the occurrence of a cam lesion but should be interpreted by taking into account the overall hip anatomy, specifically femoral version and acetabular coverage. Decreased femoral anteversion and increased acetabular coverage add to the risk of early femoroacetabular collision during sports and activities of daily living and therefore appear to be additional predictive variables, besides the finding of a cam lesion, for the risk of clinical hip impingement development. In addition, the findings suggest that surgical osteochondroplasty to restore a normal range of motion may necessitate more excessive bone resection than what simply appears to be a bump on imaging.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Femoracetabular Impingement / diagnostic imaging
  • Femoracetabular Impingement / physiopathology*
  • Femur Head / anatomy & histology
  • Femur Head / diagnostic imaging
  • Femur Head / physiopathology
  • Hip / anatomy & histology*
  • Hip / diagnostic imaging
  • Hip / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional / methods
  • Male
  • Range of Motion, Articular / physiology*
  • Sports / physiology
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Young Adult