Hip Femoro-Acetabular Impingement (FAI) - Fact Sheet

What is a Femoro-Acetabular Impingement ?

Femoro-Acetabular Impingement (occurs when the head of the major thigh bone (femur) can impact or “impinge” on the rim of the of the acetabulum (hip socket). This irritates the surrounding joint structures, causing pain in the front of the hip, the groin and sometimes into the bottom and low back.

What causes it?

Femoro-Acetabular Impingement (FAI) is usually caused by bony abnormalities formed on either the femoral head or hip acetabulum (socket). These are called CAM or Pincer lesions, leading to FAI symptoms. Other factors such as previous hip injury, developing hip osteoarthritis, or hip instability can lead to FAI symptoms as well.

FAI Types

Signs and Symptoms​ of Femoro-Acetabular Impingement ?

  • Anterior/lateral hip pain, groin pain
  • Pain with particular movements, i.e. bending/crossing legs, getting in/out of car, bending to touch toes
  • Pain or stiffness after activity or in the morning
  • Irritation of the gluteal muscles (a secondary issue)



FAI - Area of pain

Treatment of Femoro-Acetabular Impingement ?

Manual treatment – At MD Health we utilise hip mobilisation with movement (or MWM) to try to restore the normal gliding motion of the hip joint in its socket. This may be combined with hip traction or other soft tissue work to help control your symptoms. This should not be solely relied upon, as evidence shows this approach works best in conjunction with strength training/exercise.

Tailored Clinical Exercise will help to strengthen the hip stabilising muscles that support and control the movement of your affected hip. This is the most important part of your hip rehab! This itself can often relieve pain, and works best to reduce pain in the long-term.

Referral – if your symptoms do not reduce after about 3 months of exercise-based rehab, our staff may choose to refer you to a hip surgeon to explore further options.

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