Decreasing pelvic incidence is associated with greater risk of cam morphology

W. Z. Morris, C. A. Fowers, R. T. Yuh, J. J. Gebhart, M. J. Salata, R. W. Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Objectives The spinopelvic relationship (including pelvic incidence) has been shown to influence pelvic orientation, but its potential association with femoroacetabular impingement has not been thoroughly explored. The purpose of this study was to prove the hypothesis that decreasing pelvic incidence is associated with increased risk of cam morphology. Methods Two matching cohorts were created from a collection of cadaveric specimens with known pelvic incidences: 50 subjects with the highest pelvic incidence (all subjects > 60°) and 50 subjects with the lowest pelvic incidence (all subjects < 35°). Femoral version, acetabular version, and alpha angles were directly measured from each specimen bilaterally. cam morphology was defined as alpha angle > 55°. Differences between the two cohorts were analysed with a student’s t-test and the difference in incidence of cam morphology was assessed using a chi-squared test. The significance level for all tests was set at p < 0.05. Results cam morphology was identified in 47/100 (47%) femurs in the cohort with pelvic incidence < 35° and in only 25/100 (25%) femurs in the cohort with pelvic incidence > 60° (p = 0.002). The mean alpha angle was also greater in the cohort with pelvic incidence < 35° (mean 53.7°, sd 10.7° versus mean 49.7°, sd 10.6°; p = 0.008). Conclusions Decreased pelvic incidence is associated with development of cam morphology. We propose a novel theory wherein subjects with decreased pelvic incidence compensate during gait (to maintain optimal sagittal balance) through anterior pelvic tilt, creating artificial anterior acetabular overcoverage and recurrent impingement that increases risk for cam morphology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)387-392
Number of pages6
JournalBone and Joint Research
Issue number9
StatePublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Cam morphology
  • Femoroacetabular impingement
  • Pelvic incidence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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