Diagnosis and Treatment

Femoroacetabular Impingement Diagnosis and Treatment

The first step in treating FAI is usually quite conservative. Rest from sport or the activity causing the pain as well as anti-inflammatory treatment can significantly control the symptoms.

Physical therapy to correct weakness or imbalance in the hip and core musculature is also usually prescribed. The nonsurgical approach can be successful in some cases. There are some cases, however, where bony joint asymmetry is simply too much and the impingement will continue to cause pain and joint degradation when the young athlete attempts to return to sports. In those cases, arthroscopic surgery can be performed.

What if conservative measures don’t work?

During hip arthroscopy, the goal is to tailor the procedure to the exact type of problem in each hip. For younger athletes, we have a strong preference for performing the most conservative procedure that results in restoration of as close to normal anatomy as possible. This typically includes removal of the impinging bone spurs to restore the natural shape of the ball and socket, repairing the ring of tissue around the socket (called the labrum), and tightening loose ligaments.

The surgery is done on an outpatient, same-day basis. For a typical FAI surgery, most patients can expect to be on crutches and in a hip brace for 2–3 weeks after surgery. Physical therapy is an essential component of recovery and usually ensues for 3–4 months postoperatively.