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FAI – Femoroacetabular Impingement

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Femoroacetabular Impingement (FAI) (or Hip Impingement)

This condition affects active, young people. There are two main types of hip impingement. 

In cam hip impingement there is excess bone around the ball of your femur.

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In pincer hip impingement the socket is overgrown and covers more of the ball.

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In mixed impingement, both abnormalities exist.

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In all forms of impingement, patients complain of groin pain when they flex their hips (bring their knee towards the chest) or other extreme movements. With time and repetitive contact damage to the labrum and surrounding cartilage lining the socket can occur which progresses the longer it is left. Eventually, activity related pain and turn to rest pain, which is a worrying sign.

If there is no degeneration in the joint (significant wear and tear), then the hip impingement can be treated with hip arthroscopy. During arthroscopy the excess bone can be shaved thereby allowing smoother movement. I typically perform a dynamic test for residual impingement to ensure I have taken away adequate bone. If there is an associated tear in the labrum then I aim to repair it if possible.