The hip is comprised of 2 bones: the femur and the pelvis, creating a ball and socket joint.
The hip should freely be able to move in all directions and circumduct, like the shoulder.
Femoral Acetabulum Impingement (FAI) or Hip Impingement happens when either the ball and/or the socket are misshaped which creates additional friction and pinching of the joint and surrounding structures. Long term, this could potentially lead to labral tears, articular cartilage damage, and/or arthritis.
What Causes a Hip Impingement?
There are several factors that can lead to a hip impingement. Some believe that the bones are misshapen at birth, or overtime, can become misshapen. This is more common in youth athletes, or adults, whose sports involve a lot of squatting and twisting.
Possibly no pain or symptoms
Pain/achiness at the inner hip, or groin area. This often occurs after walking, especially uphill, or prolonged sitting
Locking, clicking or catching sensation within the joint
Difficulty putting on your socks and/or shoes due to pinching or blocked sensation at the hip
Low back pain
SI Joint Pain (sacroiliac joint on back of pelvis), the buttock, or greater trochanter (side of hip)
Your Physical Therapist can help determine if you have an FAI and whether your situation may involve further imaging or surgery. They will also determine if your pain could be from hip flexor tendinitis, back pain, a hernia, or some other condition. Most people respond well to conservative treatment and exercise modifications to help decrease the pinching in their groin. However, keep in mind PT cannot change the shape of your bones but can improve the imbalances of your entire system to decrease pain and inflammation.
If surgery is required, your surgeon might trim off some of the damaged tissue or bones if necessary. Then you will continue PT to rebuild your range of motion and strength.
As with any type of pain, it is better to be proactive than reactive. If you begin experiencing hip pain more frequently, especially with activity, we recommend seeing a Physical Therapist right away. This will help you figure out the root cause and heal faster.
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