Persistent Deep Hip Pain – Femoroacetabular Impingement

April 2, 2018

Do you have a groin strain that just won’t heal? Then you may actually have something called femoroacetabular impingement (FAI). FAI is a condition that can occur after a minor trauma and will present similarly to a strain of the muscles in your groin. First it will feel like a dull ache which can be accompanied by a sharp, popping and/or catching sensation.

This condition occurs due to a mismatch between the ball and socket in the joint of the hip. If the “ball” part of the joint (i.e., femoral head) is large and ends up being jammed into the socket (i.e., acetabulum of the pelvis), then it can impinge upon (pinch) the cartilage lining, possibly tearing it. FAI can also be caused if there are “bumps” on the “ball” part of the hip joint which can cause friction.

These mismatches may be quite prevalent in the general population however they may not have any symptoms. It is much more typical for symptoms to develop in the active population. A study done in 2012 found that 90% of the 125 athletes they looked at had findings in their hip consistent with FAI. This statistic is a large reason why the athletic population should be screened for conditions like these. There may be a mismatch they are unaware of – unless they are properly screened. Knowing whether you have this or not can be extremely helpful in avoiding further injury.

Research has shown that an active treatment plan, focusing on exercises for mobility, flexibility and strengthening; along with balance work; are the best to treat your immediate symptoms of FAI and reduce your chances of having pain in the future. If you think you may have this condition feel free to contact us at Family Physical Therapy for help!

Jenn Millen, PTA, ATC

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