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Femoroacetabular impingement, or FAI, is a condition where extra bone grows in the area of your hip joint. As a result, your bones can touch and pinch one another, especially when the hip is bent.
Two parts, of the hip include:
The two types of cartilage are:
FAI leads to the ball and socket impacting one another.
FAI can cause hip pain, especially when the hip is brought toward the chest during sports or sitting for long periods. Over time, this can damage the cartilage that cushions the hip.
It's thought that about 15% of people with hip pain have FAI. Some people don't have symptoms and it often goes undiagnosed.
There's no clear data on how many people have FAI.
There are three types of FAI:
Hip deformities at birth or bone growth during childhood can cause FAI.
It affects both males and females.
Over time, and with repeated motion, bone deformities may start to damage the cartilage and cause pain.
It's not clear what triggers the changes, in the shape of the ball or socket, but the following may play a role:
FAI is most common in teens, young active adults, and athletes.
Physical activity doesn't cause FAI. Rather, active people are more likely to notice hip pain sooner than others.
If left untreated, symptoms often get worse.
Over time, FAI can lead to osteoarthritis (the breakdown of cartilage around the hip joint), or joint deterioration. This can be painful and limit the ability to be active.
If you're noticing persistent pain in your hip joint, you may have some damage to the cartilage. It's important to inform your doctor for evaluation and possible treatment to keep your hip healthy.
Most of the time, you can't prevent FAI.
You can adapt your activities and keep the hip and abdominal muscles strong to help slow the damage to your cartilage.
U.S. News and World Report ranks us as one of the best orthopaedic programs in the nation.
Here are just a few of the reasons why:
Many people don't have any symptoms of FAI, but others may notice:
If you have mild pain, you can try:
If the pain doesn't go away, or it gets worse, you should call your doctor.
During your appointment, your doctor will:
The doctor will also perform range of motion, strength, and impingement tests to check how your joint moves and whether it causes pain.
During an impingement test, doctors:
If you have pain during the test, you may have FAI.
Your doctor may also do other tests to diagnose FAI, such as:
Treatments for FAI will vary based on how severe your pain is, and whether there is damage to your cartilage.
UPMC's orthopaedic team will work with you to reduce your pain, restore motion to the hip, and stop FAI from getting worse.
If you have FAI but don't have symptoms, treatment is not needed. You should learn more about FAI, so you know ways to reduce joint strain and when to seek treatment.
If you have FAI symptoms, the following treatments might help:
If non-surgical treatments don't help, or if tests show you have joint damage, you may need FAI surgery.
FAI surgery is often minimally invasive where your surgeon:
Arthroscopic surgery usually takes 1.5 to 2 hours and requires general anesthesia.
Though you'll spend some time in the recovery room, most people go home the same day.
You'll need to use crutches for at least one week after your surgery.
If arthroscopic FAI surgery isn't an option, you may need an open surgery. This is a longer procedure, with several days of recovery in the hospital.
As with all surgeries, there are rare but more serious risks such as:
After either type of surgery, you'll do physical therapy. It will take at least 3 to 4 months to fully heal and return to your normal routine.
FAI surgery usually relieves pain and prevents further damage to your hip joint and cartilage. However, some damage cannot be repaired and further damage may still happen in the future.
In some cases, if FAI has caused severe joint damage and you don't improve significantly after arthroscopic surgery, you may think about a hip replacement.