34 Scopus citations


A normal hip has a natural tendency toward stability because of both osseous and soft tissue structures. Hip motion is primarily rotational around a center of rotation. When the femoral head and its center of rotation translate, with or without rotation, the inherent stability of the femoroacetabular articulation may be lost. The spectrum of hip instability ranges from subtle microinstability to traumatic dislocation. Microinstability may be the cause or the effect of several other hip pathologies. Soft tissue contributions to stability include the static capsule, dynamic musculotendinous units, and underlying generalized connective tissue (eg, Ehlers-Danlos). Osseous contributions include multiple femoral and acetabular radiographic coverage parameters. Iatrogenic contributions include an unrepaired capsulotomy, overresection of the acetabular rim (iatrogenic dysplasia), overresection of cam osteochondroplasty, iliopsoas tenotomy, labral debridement, and ligamentum teres debridement. Patients with hip microinstability often have deep groin pain, exhibited by a C sign. These patients frequently participate in flexibility sports and activities, such as ballet, gymnastics, figure skating, and martial arts. On physical examination, generalized hypermobility syndromes should be assessed, as should loss of log-roll external rotation recoil, excessive abduction, trochanteric-pelvic impingement, and abductor fatigue. Standard imaging, incluDing plain radiographs, magnetic resonance imaging, and computed tomography, should be analyzed for all causes of hip pain. A new plain radiograph, the splits radiograph is introduced here, consistently showing lateral femoral head translation and creation of a vacuum sign, showing hip microinstability. The splits radiograph is illustrated in a 22-year-old female dancer who presented with bilateral deep anterolateral groin pain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e169-e175
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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