Higher patient activity level and subchondral stiffening in asymptomatic cam femoroacetabular impingement subjects

J Hip Preserv Surg. 2018 Jun 22;5(3):259-266. doi: 10.1093/jhps/hny017. eCollection 2018 Aug.


A cam deformity is proposed as a cause of idiopathic osteoarthritis. Increased subchondral bone mineral density (BMD) is associated with this degenerative process of osteoarthritis, and the patient's activity level may contribute to it. Therefore, the correlation between activity level and subchondral BMD in subjects with cam deformity FAI was studied. In this study, 26 asymptomatic cam deformity subjects (Bump) were compared with 18 subjects with a normal alpha angle (Control). Anterosuperior subchondral femoral neck and acetabular rim BMD were measured using quantitative computed tomography. Activity level was determined using the UCLA activity score. The correlation between BMD and UCLA activity were analysed. The result was a significantly higher BMD for Bump subjects in almost all measured sections. The UCLA score of the Bump versus Control subjects were comparable (8.96 versus 8.77, P = 0.740). While the controls showed no correlation between UCLA and BMD, a positive correlation was found for the Bump subjects on several femoral and acetabular impingement locations. These results support the conclusion that mechanical loading causes subchondral stiffening at the anterosuperior head-neck junction of the femur and anterosuperior acetabular rim. The absence of a correlation between BMD versus UCLA in the Controls supports the hypothesis that activity level may serve as a predictor for higher subchondral BMD in a cam deformity hip joint.