FEMOROACETABULAR IMPINGEMENT (FAI)

Specialized care for a complex condition

The hip is one of the largest joints in the human body and is a ball-and-socket joint. The ball is the femoral head, which is the upper end of the femur (thighbone). The socket is formed by the acetabulum, which is part of the large pelvis bone. Large ligaments (tough bands of tissues) connect the ball and the socket in order to stabilize the joint by preventing excessive movement.

Femoroacetabular impingement (FAI), also known as hip impingement, is a structural disorder where the bones of the hip are abnormally shaped. Since they do not fit together perfectly, over time, the hip bones repetitively “bump” or rub against each other and cause damage to the joint, cartilage or the labrum. Femoroacetabular impingement occurs when the femoral head (ball) does not have its full range of motion within the acetabulum (socket). Femoroacetabular impingement can occur in people of all ages, including adolescents and young adults.

There are three main types of femoroacetabular impingements:

Cam Impingement – In cam impingement, the femoral head is not perfectly round, therefore it cannot rotate smoothly within the acetabulum.

Pincer Impingement – In pincer impingement, extra bone extends out over the normal rim of the acetabulum, crushing the labrum.

Combined Impingement – In combined impingement, both cam and pincer impingement occur together.

In the early stages of hip impingement, there may be mild or no associated symptoms. Individuals who are experiencing femoroacetabular impingement may have the following symptoms:

  • Pain in the groin, hip, or lower back during rest and/or activity
  • Stiffness in the groin, hip, or thigh
  • Inability or difficulty flexing the hip beyond a right angle

If symptoms worsen or do not improve with more conservative treatment such as medication, rest, and physical therapy, call us at 815 741 6900. A second opinion will help you rule out any other causes, avoid further damage and help you get the care you deserve.