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Femoroacetabular Impingement (FAI)

Femoroacetabular impingement (FAI) is a condition in which the ball and socket of the hip joint do not fit together as they should. Because of this, the bones rub against each other when a person moves, and this friction eventually causes hip joint damage. FAI, over time, can lead to labral tears and hip arthritis.

What causes Femoroacetabular Impingement (FAI)?

FAI is the result of abnormally-shaped hip bones. If normal bone formation doesn’t occur when a child grows, little can be done to stave off the development of FAI. Some with this condition are asymptomatic and experience no ill effects from FAI. But once symptoms appear, the condition generally progresses. When painful symptoms persist, call an OSI hip specialist. The longer these go without treatment, the more damage they can cause to the hip.

How do you know you have Femoroacetabular Impingement (FAI)?

Common symptoms of FAI are:

  • Pain
  • Stiffness
  • Swelling

The pain may be a dull ache or a sharp stabbing pain, often in the groin or the outside of the hip.

How does OSI fix Femoroacetabular Impingement (FAI)?

A board-certified OSI hip specialist will listen as you explain your symptoms. You’ll both discuss your concerns, and he/she will examine your hip for signs of FAI. It will be very helpful for FAI diagnosis if you can tell your OSI hip doctor the movement or activity that resulted in the pain after the initial onset of symptoms. Some, or all, of the following may be used to determine the best course of treatment for your hip Femoroacetabular impingement:

  • Physical exam: Your OSI physician will discuss your overall medical history and specific hip symptoms. A passive motion test for hip impingement may be conducted, as well.
  • X-rays: X-rays will show abnormally-shaped bones or arthritis.
  • MRI: An MRI can find labrum or cartilage damage.

Nonsurgical Treatment

There are many nonsurgical approaches to treat FAI:

  • Anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs such as ibuprofen) reduce pain and swelling.
  • Physical therapy. Specific exercises can help increase range of motion as well as help strengthen the muscles. Benefits can extend to the injured labrum or cartilage. OSI has a physical therapy department right on site, so you’ll get excellent therapy and care while under the watchful eye of your doctor.
  • Activity Modification. Activities that result in FAI symptoms may necessitate changes in your routine.

Surgical Treatment

A surgical approach may be necessary if nonsurgical techniques do not alleviate your FAI symptoms. OSI hip surgeons often choose arthroscopy, a minimally-invasive surgical option, for many issues associated with FAI. Successful reduction of hip FAI symptoms and the prevention of future damage to the hip joint are very likely with surgery, although it is possible that problems may reoccur, especially if treatment was delayed.