Femoroacetabular Impingement (FAI)
What is hip impingement?
Hip impingement syndrome is a very common condition that affects the hip joint, causing pain, discomfort, and tightness within the hip/groin area. It occurs when the bones of the hip joint rub against each other and it can lead to inflammation and injury. This condition can affect individuals of all ages, but it is commonly seen in active individuals & athletes, especially those who participate in sports that put a lot of stress on the hips, such as soccer, basketball, and ice hockey.
Hip Anatomy, physiology, and mechanics
The hip joint is a ball-and-socket joint that allows the thighbone (femur) to move within the pelvic bone (acetabulum). When the bones of the hip joint do not fit together properly, they can rub against each other and cause damage to the soft tissue, cartilage, and bones. This can result in hip impingement syndrome.
There are two types of hip impingement: cam and pincer. Cam impingement occurs when the head of the femur (thighbone) is misshapen, causing it to rub against the acetabulum (pelvic bone) during movement. Pincer impingement occurs when the acetabulum extends too far out and overcompensates for the ball of the femur.
Often times a hip impingement has both CAM & pincer together.
In addition, there may be both or none of these conditions occurring and hip impingement is often caused and seen in those who have altered biomechanics of the hip, femur, and/or pelvis. For example, if you have a tilted pelvis, it may cause you to pinch your hips sooner.
Whether you have a CAM or pincer, all hips will have altered mechanics!
Hip mechanics are EXTREMELY important because they are the engine of human movement. They are the link that generates power and if the forces are altered, they can lead to lower back pain, alignment issues, and knee pain. We often see old disc injuries and lower back pain that are a result of altered mechanics of the hip.
Here is a list of structures you need to consider or treat when it comes to the hip:
- Psoas & hip flexors
- Hip capsule
- Pelvis and its attached ligaments