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Femoroacetabular Impingement (FAI)

The hip is a ball-and-socket joint.

Learn more about hip anatomy

What is femoroacetabular impingement (FAI)?

Femoroacetabular impingement (FAI) happens when the ball and socket rub together abnormally, causing damage to the hip joint over time.

There are two broad types of FAI:

Most hips with FAI have elements of both cam and pincer impingement. Over time, FAI can cause the labrum to fray or tear.

Why does the hip labrum tear?

FAI can cause the labrum around the hip joint to get pinched. Activities such as running, playing basketball, skiing, yoga, or dancing can cause repetitive trauma to the labrum between the cam or pincer lesions. This damage may cause a tear to develop.

Once the labrum tears, it does not function as well as it should. Labral tears can cause pain that is often felt in the groin or at the top of the hip.

What are the symptoms of FAI and labral tears?

Symptoms of FAI and labral tears include:

How are FAI and labral tears diagnosed?

The diagnostic process starts by talking with you about your symptoms and conducting a detailed physical examination. Diagnostic imaging, including X-rays and MRI scans, can be useful for a diagnosis as well.

How are FAI and labral tears treated?

Most people experience relief from FAI and labral tears with conservative, nonsurgical treatment. Based on the severity of symptoms, treatment options may include:

If nonsurgical treatment is not effective, surgery may be appropriate. Your surgeon will discuss whether hip arthroscopy is right for you.

What can I do at home to treat FAI and labral tears?

Home treatment for FAI and labral tears includes:

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