Femoral Acetabular Impingement Syndrome

About Femoral Acetabular Impingement Syndrome (FAI):

Femoral Acetabular Impingement Syndrome (FAI) is a condition where the bones of the hip are abnormally shaped. Due to this irregular shaping of the bones, the upper part of the femur impinges on the lip of the hip socket causing the hip bones to rub against each other. This results in joint damage. With FAI, bone spurs begin to develop around the head or top of the femur and along the hip socket. This can result in hip labral tears and the wearing of cartilage.  There are two main types of Femoral Acetabular Impingement Syndrome:

  • Pincer impingement is a type of FAI in which the acetabulum (hip socket) has a piece of bone sticking out which can cause the labrum to be crushed.
  • Cam impingement is a type of FAI where the femoral head (top of thighbone) is rigid and thus unable to smoothly rotate inside the hip socket.  A bump forms on the femoral head and grinds on the hip cartilage inside of the acetabulum.

Signs & Symptoms

  • Loss of full-range motion in the hip
  • Hip pain or stiffness felt mainly in the groin
  • Pain when pushing the hip to a certain limit, eventually leading to pain during normal activities
  • Pain when walking on flat ground (indicating cartilage breakdown)

How is it Treated?

FAI treatment varies depending on the amount of damage inside of the hip joint. In the early stages of FAI, changing your daily routine in ways that avoid the cause of symptoms is recommended. However, if there are bone spurs that are found, surgery is typically advised in order to get rid of the bone spurs. If the hip joint is concluded to have severe bone-on-bone damage, then a joint replacement or arthroscopic procedure would be recommended.


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