Your hip socket or “acetabulum” is covered by smooth, glassy cartilage extending all the way to its outer rim. The term “Femoroacetabular impingement” (FAI) means that this rim of cartilage is being pinched when you move your hip into certain positions. Repetitive pinching results in irritation, tearing, or even detachment of this cartilage from your hip socket.
FAI occurs because of a mismatch between the head of your femur and the socket of your hip. The mismatch may be from an abnormally shaped hip bone (cam deformity), or having too much cartilage on the rim of your hip socket (pincer deformity). Most frequently, FAI results from a combination of both (combined or mixed deformity).
FAI is most common in young active people. Although the deformity may be present on both sides, symptoms are usually one-sided. The condition is equally common among men and women. Symptoms of FAI include a constant dull pain with periods of sharp pain, made worse by activity. Walking, pivoting, prolonged sitting, stair climbing, and impact activities like running or jumping can aggravate your symptoms. Snapping, locking, and clicking are common.
Our office will help direct a rehab program to maximize your chance of recovery. You should attempt to stay active, but avoid activities that aggravate symptoms. You may consider temporarily switching to low-impact activities, like stationary biking or water-walking. You should avoid motions that combine flexion and internal rotation, like- getting out of a car with one leg at a time, swimming the breaststroke, or performing squats. Patients with FAI should avoid excessive stretching, as this could aggravate the condition, but will likely benefit from strengthening exercises in the type of treatment provided in this office.