What is Hip Arthroscopy and What Conditions Does it Treat?

Because they bear so much of your weight, your hip joints are among the most important in your body. When your hip joints are healthy, they allow you to sit, stand, walk, run and bend with ease. But when they aren’t, it can impact almost every area of your life.

Dr. Alexander performing hip replacement surgery

What is hip arthroscopy?

Generally speaking, arthroscopy is a minimally-invasive procedure that’s performed under general anesthesia. It differs from traditional open surgery by using small incisions and a camera called an arthroscope to view the affected areas. As a result, the recovery time is often less painful and patients are typically back on their feet much more quickly.

Note from the Doctors: Recovery is a unique process. The progression of a condition or extent of an injury, as well as the patient's willingness to follow a recovery plan, will impact an individual's recovery.

For hip conditions, arthroscopy is usually recommended if a patient doesn’t respond to more conservative, nonsurgical treatments such as anti-inflammatory injections, rest or physical therapy. Common procedures include removing loose debris (called debridement), repairing torn cartilage, removing inflamed tissues or trimming bone spurs.

Hip arthroscopy is not as common as other arthroscopic procedures, so it’s important to find experts who specialize in hip arthroscopy. They can help you get relief from a number of common conditions:

Snapping Hip Syndrome

Also known as “dancer’s hip,” it’s a type of tendinitis that’s easily identified by a snapping sensation or popping noise (or both) when the hip is flexed. It’s a painful condition that’s usually caused by repetitive, stressful movements like those required in dance, other high-impact sports or vigorous strength training.


This is an extremely common degenerative joint disease that causes inflammation and damage to the cartilage. Symptoms include pain, swelling, and reduced mobility. It’s typically seen in older patients but can strike at any age. In fact, around 54.4 million American adults suffer from arthritis.

Labral tears and femoroacetabular Impingement (FAI)

Think of the labrum as a seal or rubber gasket that keeps the ball of the hip joint tightly secured to the socket. A tear can happen due to injury or repetitive motion, and symptoms can include a catching sensation, pain in the groin area, stiffness or limited range of motion (called impingement.)


This condition occurs when bursae — fluid-filled sacs that cushion and lubricate joints — become swollen and inflamed. It causes pain on the outside of the thigh and can be debilitating.

Read Next: Everything You Need to Know About Total Hip Replacement Surgery

Don’t let a sore hip keep you from enjoying life. Schedule an appointment today and get started on the path back to a pain-free life.