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Cam-type deformities linked to MRI detected hip damage in asymptomatic young men

Further studies needed to confirm progression to osteoarthritis of the hip

Hip impingement (femoracetabular impingement) may be a risk factor of osteoarthritis (OA) of the hip. A new study reveals that the presence of an underlying deformity, known as cam impingement, is associated with hip damage in young men without any arthritis symptoms and detected using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Full findings are now published in Arthritis & Rheumatism, a journal of the American College of Rheumatology (ACR).

Medical evidence reports that hip OA is a major cause of pain and disability, and accounts for more than 200,000 hip replacements in the U.S. each year. Cam impingement limits full range of motion in the hip socket due to boney bumps on the femoral head. The cam-type deformity causes hip pain as the bump moves inside the socket, applying extreme pressure to cartilage and may eventually lead to OA in the hip. Studies have shown that cam impingement is often seen in young male athletes referred to orthopedic specialists after experiencing groin pain, and hip rotation is found to be diminished.

"Given that cam-type deformities are common in young asymptomatic males, we examined whether the deformities were associated with early signs of MRI detected hip damage," explains lead author Dr. Stephan Reichenbach from the Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine at the University of Bern in Switzerland. The researchers recruited participants from a population-based group of male individuals enrolling in the Swiss army at a single recruiting center. A total of 244 males with a mean age of 20 years reported having no hip pain and were qualified for the study. MRIs were conducted and one hip in each participant was examined for cam-type deformities, labral lesions, signs of cartilage damage and impingement pits.

Researchers detected 67 definitive cam-type deformities in study participants with these men having higher body mass index and decreased internal rotation. Labral lesions were detected in 85% of participants with cam-type deformities and in only 67% of those without the deformity. Labral avulsions were found in 76% of participants with the deformity and 58% of those without. In participants with cam-type deformity versus those without, impingement pits were observed in 30% and 12%, respectively.

The authors report an adjusted prevalence of 24% for cam-type deformities in the study population along with a high frequency of signs of joint damage. The signs of joint damage found in participants could be an outcome in the sequence from normal to osteoarthritic hips, they suggest. "Our study is the first population-based MRI study to confirm the role of cam-type deformities of the hip as a potential risk factor for joint damage," concluded Dr. Reichenbach. "Longer-term studies are needed to determine if cam-type deformity increases risk of developing hip OA."

This study is published in Arthritis & Rheumatism. Media wishing to receive a PDF of the article may contact

Full citation:

"Association Between Cam-Type Deformities and MRI Detected Structural Damage of the Hip: A Cross-Sectional Study in Young Males." Stephan Reichenbach, Michael Leunig, Stefan Werlen, Eveline Nüesch, Christian W Pfirrmann, Harald Bonel, Alex Odermatt, Willy Hofstetter, Reinhold Ganz and Peter Jüni. Arthritis & Rheumatism; Published Online: September 8, 2011 (DOI: 10.1002/art.30589).

Author Contact:To arrange an interview with Dr. Gabay, please contact Geneva University Hospitals Communication Service at or +41 (0) 22 372 60 57.

About the Journal

Arthritis & Rheumatism is an official journal of the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) and the Association of Rheumatology Health Professionals (ARHP), a division of the College, and covers all aspects of inflammatory disease. The American College of Rheumatology ( is the professional organization who share a dedication to healing, preventing disability, and curing the more than 100 types of arthritis and related disabling and sometimes fatal disorders of the joints, muscles, and bones. Members include practicing physicians, research scientists, nurses, physical and occupational therapists, psychologists, and social workers. For details, please visit

About Wiley-Blackwell

Wiley-Blackwell is the international scientific, technical, medical, and scholarly publishing business of John Wiley & Sons, with strengths in every major academic and professional field and partnerships with many of the world's leading societies. Wiley-Blackwell publishes nearly 1,500 peer-reviewed journals and 1,500+ new books annually in print and online, as well as databases, major reference works and laboratory protocols. For more information, please visit or our new online platform, Wiley Online Library (, one of the world's most extensive multidisciplinary collections of online resources, covering life, health, social and physical sciences, and humanities.

Media Advisory

ACR Annual Meeting Press Registration Now Open

Press registration is now open to journalists planning to attend the 2011 ACR/ARHP Annual Scientific Meeting in Chicago. Held November 4-9, the ACR/ARHP Annual Scientific Meeting is the premier meeting in rheumatology.

For more information, including to view the press conference schedule, visit Follow the meeting on twitter by using the official hashtag: #ACR2011.

Dawn Peters | EurekAlert!
Further information:

Further reports about: ACR ACR/ARHP Arthritis Cam-type MRI Online Broker Rheumatology Wiley-Blackwell rheumatism risk factor

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