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FAI A Common Cause Of Groin Pain

FAI A Common Cause Of Groin Pain
FAI A Common Cause Of Groin Pain

FAI A Pain In The Hip For Young Active Adults

Femoroacetabular Impingement (FAI) may affect the hip joint in young and middle-aged adults contributing to hip and groin pain in young active adults. It is not known how many people may have femoroacetabular impingement but it is estimated that a cam deformity (abbreviation for camshaft which the shape of the femoral head and neck resembles) may affect up to 25% of the general population however a cam deformity is not always painful.
When a cam deformity is painful then it is known as FAI. With femoroacetabular impingement of cam deformity origin during certain movements of the hip the cam deformity is forced into the hip socket causing damage to the cartilage lining of the joint. With FAI when symptoms develop which may include pain, stiffness, and limping it usually indicates that there is damage to the cartilage or labrum and the disease is likely to progress and become more symptomatic over time.

FAI Set In Motion In Your Developmental Years

FAI occurs because the hip bones do not form normally during the childhood growing and developmental years. It is the deformity of a cam or pincer bone spur (or both), that leads to joint damage and pain with hip impingement and when the hip joint bones are shaped abnormally then ultimately there is little that can be done to prevent FAI. Active individuals in theory work the hip joint more vigorously (depending obviously on the type of activity chosen) and therefore this is why sports people with cam deformities may begin to experience pain earlier than individuals who are less active.

What Are The Symptoms Of FAI

Individuals presenting with hip impingement in most circumstances tend to have an active lifestyle. However, FAI related pain may also occur during normal activity such as sitting down and standing up and simply getting in and out of a car or truck.
People with FAI usually have pain in their groin area, although sometimes the pain may be more toward the outside of the hip area or even the lower back. The pain may be just a dull ache or may be a sharp stabbing pain occurring with turning, twisting, and squatting movements. The longer painful symptoms go untreated, the more damage FAI can cause to the hip so if symptoms persist then it is advisable you investigate to determine the exact cause of your pain so you can consider the treatment options.

Diagnosis Of FAI

X-rays, CT and MRI scans can all be of use for investigating pain thought to be caused by femoroacetabular impingement and giving an image of the anatomy of the hip. Positive investigations indicating either a pincer or cam deformity (or both) coupled with appropriate history and positive hip impingement signs on physical examination (an in clinic test where your knee is brought up towards your chest and then rotated inward towards your opposite shoulder, if this reproduces the hip pain, the test result is considered positive for impingement).

Treatment Of FAI

Non surgical treatment for FAI may include activity modification to avoid activities causing symptoms combined with anti-inflammatory medications to help reduce the pain and inflammation associated with FAI can be coupled with physiotherapy treatment where the focus is to work to optimise alignment and mobility of the joint, thereby decreasing excessive forces on irritable or weakened tissues. And to work at identifying and correcting any specific movement patterns that may be causing injury.
Surgical treatment is considered when conservative treatment such as physiotherapy has not satisfactorily managed to improved function or pain levels.
Surgery can help successfully reduce symptoms of femoroacetabular impingement and correcting the impingement surgically can prevent future damage to the hip joint. However if treatment has been delayed and the damage to the joint is severe surgery will obviously not solve all issues. Generally it is wise to couple surgery with post operative physiotherapy to help restore ROM and good biomechanical control of movement to enable the to lower limb to function optimally and help prevent possible problems that may develop in the future.

FAI In A Nut Shell

FAI is regarded as a cause of premature hip osteoarthritis and is characterized by abnormal contact between the ball and hip socket. A combination of certain factors may predispose individuals to some form of FAI, predominantly, bone development marginal to the hip joint surfaces together with athletic activities involving recurrent motion of the legs beyond typical normal range. The ultimate result is increased friction between the socket and femoral head (ball) which can result in pain and reduced hip function.

Disclaimer: Sydney Physio Clinic does not endorse any treatments, procedures, products mentioned. This information is provided as an educational service and is not intended to serve as medical advice. Anyone seeking specific advice or assistance regarding FAI A Common Cause Of Groin Pain should consult his or her podiatrist, sports medicine specialist or physiotherapist.

Hayden Latimer is the founder of and principle physiotherapist at Sydney Physio Clinic. Since graduating from Otago University, Dunedin, New Zealand he’s gained wide experience practicing across the globe for over 15 years and is now extremely knowledgeable in helping people reduce discomfort and restore function and mobility.


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