Femoroacetabular impingement (FAI) is a type of hip condition that results from the pinching of the head of the thighbone and the acetabulum or socket of the hip. This pinching can result in pain and can sometimes wear away some of the tissue around the joint known as the labrum, causing a hip labrum tear.
Changes in your hip may impact your low back, knees, ankles, and feet. However, just because you may have some breakdown of the joint surface, doesn’t necessarily mean you will have any pain or limitation associated with it.
It is important to visit a physical therapist to have them assess your hip pain to determine the underlying cause of the pain to best determine the necessary steps needed to get you back to feeling pain free.
Symptoms Of FAI and Hip Labrum Tears:
Pain often noted along the groin, outside of the leg, and buttock
Stiffness in the hip during the morning that lasts less than 60 minutes
Pain or catch with hip flexion greater than 90 degrees
High intensity exercises/activities may make symptoms worse such as running, jumping, or twisting movements
Possible Causes Of FAI and Hip Labrum Tears:
Anatomical variations in the shape of the head of the femur (the ball portion of the ball and socket joint) and/or shape of the acetabulum (part of the pelvis that is the socket within the ball and socket type joint of the hip) allowing for contact to occur. However, these variations can also be seen in non-symptomatic patients
Postural changes such as a flattened low back may posteriorly rotate the pelvis and allow for pinching to occur, resulting in pain
Trauma, such as a fall, can also result in a hip labrum tear
How Can Physical Therapy Help FAI And Hip Labrum Tears:
Specific exercises are used to increase hip strength primarily of the outer muscles and the buttocks
Manual therapy is used to address hip joint stiffness and possible lumbar spine stiffness
Balance activities may be used to try and maintain similar levels of balance between the involved hip and the uninvolved hip
Progression of movements are quality based. As you demonstrate greater competency and capacity to do the movements they need to be progressively more challenging.
Every individual and every episode of hip pain is very unique. The treatment suggestions listed above include several options to try and see how they may improve your situation. In addition, a thorough evaluation by a physical therapist can help identify specific features about your FAI and/or hip labrum and how to best manage them.
Understanding as much as possible about your current condition is a very important aspect of the recovery process and will empower you to take the necessary steps to get back to your normal activities with as little discomfort as possible.