FAI is a condition in which there is abnormal contact (i.e. impingement) between the hip joint socket and top part of the leg (i.e. femur) bone during hip movement.
The most common movement that brings on pain is hip flexion or rotation. Pain is usually felt deep in the groin but sometimes, it is felt further down the front of the thigh, side or back of the hip, or the buttock. There may also be episodes of clicking or snapping in the hip.
Certain activities, especially those that involve hip flexion (e.g. football, dancing, ballet and aerobics) will make the pain worse.
Sitting for a prolonged period of time can also bring on the hip pain.
Avoid high impact activities which can stimulate the pain such as running, jumping and heavy lifting.
Seek immediate medical attention if you have constant or severe hip pain, difficulty walking or sleeping due to the hip pain, or fevers or weight loss associated with the hip pain onset.
We’d recommend low-impact exercises such as walking, swimming and cycling, as tolerated. Upper limb body weight or resistance exercises can also be done.
Your doctor will take your history, perform a physical examination and send you for further relevant radiological investigations. X-rays can show if your hip has the abnormally-shaped hip joint bones of FAI and can show us if there are signs of arthritis. An MRI scan of the hip will allow the doctor to look for damage to the labrum (i.e. fibrocartilage) or articular cartilage of your hip joint.
The doctor will then be able to recommend activity modification, prescribe pain medications and refer you for physical therapy for hip strengthening and to improve the hip motion. Sometimes, they may refer you to an Orthopaedic Surgeon to evaluate whether arthroscopic surgery is necessary.
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