What is it?
Femoroacetabular impingement (FAI) is a common cause of hip pain. Impingement can occur due to an abnormal shape of the head of the femur (ball) or acetabulum (socket). If there is an abnormal shape of the femur it is called "cam impingement". In this type of impingement the femur has a bump on it. When the leg is moved in a certain way the bump contacts the socket resulting in hip pain. Cam impingement is more common in young, athletic males. The other type of impingement is called "pincer impingement". In this type of impingement the acetabulum (socket) of the hip covers too much of the femur. Pincer impingement is more common in middle-aged women. Patients who have impingement are at a higher risk for labral tears in their hip, which is a ring of tissue that surrounds the socket of the hip.
What are the Symptoms?
Patients with impingement may experience groin pain and/or hip pain when they move their leg forward, backward, or when turning side to side. Patients often complain of difficulty sitting. It is not uncommon for patients to experience a clicking or catching sensation.
When Should I See My Doctor?
You should see your doctor if you are having groin or hip pain with activity, especially when bending your hip.
How Can I Prevent Hip Impingement?
There is no way to prevent impingement since it is an anatomical issue. Patients with hip or groin pain should limit or modify activities which cause pain.
When Can I Return to Play?
After diagnosis of impingement athletes are started in exercise programs with the goal of decreasing stress on the hip. Athletes may return to their particular sport once they have good motion, strength, and function of their hip.