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Cam-type deformity of the proximal femur is a risk factor for the development of cam-type femoroacetabular impingement and a prearthrotic condition of the hip. The etiology of cam-type deformity remains unclear. There are a number of causes of cam-type deformity including sequellae of slipped capital femoral epiphysis, Legg-Calvé-Perthes disease or Perthes-like deformities, postinfectious, and traumatic. However, the majority of cam-type deformities arise without any apparent preexisting hip disease. These “idiopathic” cam-type deformities likely represent a majority of cases, and show clear racial and sex differences, as well as developmental and genetic influences. Idiopathic cam-type deformity also seems to be a distinct entity from residual or silent slipped capital femoral epiphysis, as well as osteoarthritis-induced osteophytes. In this paper we examine the different pathogenetic aspects of the proximal femur that contribute to cam-type deformity and/or symptomatic cam-type femoroacetabular impingement.