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Femoroacetabular Impingement Syndrome (FAI)

What is Femoroacetabular Impingement Syndrome (FAI)

Femoroacetabular impingement syndrome or FAI is a condition of abnormal movement within the hip joint meaning that the ball and socket rub together leading to symptoms, clinical signs and changes in morphology . FAI is caused when an overgrowth of bone on the ball, socket, or both parts of the hip joint prevents normal movement of the joint. It can occur as a result from individual’s genetics and environment.

How do I know if I have FAI syndrome?

If you have FAI you may experience:

  • Restricted range of hip motion
  • Pain may occur with prolonged sitting, walking, crossing the legs, or during and after sport or exercise
  • Pain is mostly felt in groin at front of the hip.

You can be diagnosed with FAI by your GP or physiotherapist by answering some questions and completing an examination. X-rays may be taken to confirm your condition.

How can physiotherapy help with FAI syndrome?

Physiotherapy for FAI is designed to improve hip strength, neuromuscular control, range of motion, balance and patterns of movement. Your physiotherapist can use a variety of different techniques which will:

  • Functional control to dynamically control your hip.
  • Improve soft tissue flexibility and length
  • Joint position sense
  • Progress hip muscle proprioception
  • Strengthen the supporting hip muscles

Treatment should include education about the condition, activity and lifestyle modifications. Although surgery may be used to improve hip structure and repair or remove damaged tissues. Physiotherapy is important for both pre and post operation to ensure you regain movement.

What can I do at home?

It is important to consult with your physiotherapist for direction on what you can do at home. It is vital that you avoid activities or position that cause you pain. The use of medication such as pain killers and anti-inflammatory can help reduce pain temporarily.

How long will my recovery be?

If you have FAI is possible that if you get the treatment you will improve. Whilst people who do not receive treatment, their symptoms will most likely worsen. The long term outlook is not known if treatment can prevent hip osteoarthritis.

If you would like to find out more please call us or book an appointment here.

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Reference: Australian Physiotherapy Association 2019, Your Body, viewed 19 November 2019, < https://australian.physio/>.