Femoroacetabular Impingement (FAI)

Hip impingement at a glance

  • Femoroacetabular impingement is a condition in which the bones of the hip joint are not formed properly, causing pain and reduced range of motion.
  • Symptoms of FAI depend on the individual, but typically include pain in the groin area, lower back or outer hip. Sharp pain may occur when twisting, turning, or squatting.
  • Treatment for FAI may include physical therapy, over-the-counter anti-inflammatory pain medication, or surgery. Talk to your pharmacist before purchasing anti-inflammatories as these medications may be contraindicated as they may interact with other medications and medical conditions.

Causes of hip impingement

Femoroacetabular impingement is the abnormal formation of the hip bones during childhood. Although sports activity does not cause the condition, people who have FAI and are more active are likely to experience hip discomfort sooner than others.

Sports that require repeated hip motion, like soccer, ice-skating, or gymnastics, are more likely to cause pain in people with FAI.

There are three general types of deformity recognized as Femoroacetabular impingement: cam, pincer, and combined.

In a cam impingement, a bump forms on the head of the thighbone, which grinds against the cartilage in the hip socket. In a pincer impingement, extra bone juts out over the rim of the hip socket. A combined impingement includes both the cam and the pincer deformities.

Symptoms of hip impingement

Symptoms of hip impingement include pain in the hip, groin, or lower back. A person with FAI may also have reduced or restricted range of motion in the hip. At times, a sharp, stabbing pain may be felt in the hip when twisting, turning, or squatting.

Treatment of hip impingement

Initial conservative treatment for hip impingement typically includes over-the-counter anti-inflammatory pain medication like ibuprofen or naproxen, physical therapy, and changes in daily activities that exacerbate the condition.

If the pain does not improve with conservative treatment, surgery may be necessary to repair the damaged areas, reduce the bony growths, and relieve pain.

If you are experiencing hip pain or symptoms of hip impingement, contact us to schedule an appointment with our orthopedic specialists.