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Hip Conditions - Femoral-Acetabular Impingement (FAI)

This condition is a deformity of the hip joint that limits the joint's normal range of motion. It may result from an improperly shaped socket and/or an improperly shaped femoral head.

FAI caused by an improperly shaped femur is called cam impingement. This occurs when the femur’s head grows into a shape that is unevenly rounded. Certain movements can cause the extra bone to catch against the edge of the socket, damaging the cartilage and labrum. FAI caused by an improperly shaped socket is called pincer impingement, which occurs when extra bone grows along the socket’s rim or when the socket is not angled properly. This allows the socket and femur to impact abnormally. Often times, FAI is caused by a combination of the two abnormalities.

Symptoms include sensations ranging from a dull ache to a sharp pain in the front of the hip, the buttocks, or the side of the thigh. The hip may also pop or catch. Pain is often increased during physical activity, or after periods of prolonged sitting or walking. Treatment includes changes in lifestyle that place less stress on the hip, medications to treat pain, physical therapy and possibly surgery.

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