Open MRI in functional positions has potential to directly and non-invasively assess cam femoroacetabular impingement (FAI). Our objective was to investigate whether open MRI can depict intrusion of the cam deformity into the intra-articular joint space, and whether intrusion is associated with elevated acetabular contact force. Cadaver hips (9 cam; 3 controls) were positioned in an anterior impingement posture and imaged using open MRI with multi-planar reformatting. The β-angle (describing clearance between the femoral neck and acetabulum) was measured around the entire circumference of the femoral neck. We defined a binary “MRI cam-intrusion sign” (positive if β < 0°). We then instrumented each hip with a piezoresistive sensor and conducted six repeated positioning trials, measuring acetabular contact force (F). We defined a binary “contact-force sign” (positive if F > 20N). Cam hips were more likely than controls to have both a positive MRI cam-intrusion sign (p = 0.0182, Fisher's exact test) and positive contact-force sign (p = 0.0083), which represents direct experimental evidence for cam intrusion. There was also a relationship between the MRI cam-intrusion sign and contact-force sign (p = 0.033), representing a link between imaging and mechanics. Our findings indicate that open MRI has significant potential for in vivo investigation of the cam FAI mechanism. © 2015 Orthopaedic Research Society. Published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Orthop Res 34:205–216, 2016.