Diagnosis and Treatment of Femoroacetabular Impingement in Wake County

What is Femoroacetabular Impingement?

Femoroacetabular impingement, also called FAI, occurs when the bones of your hip joint pinch against the cupped area of the hip, called the acetabulum. This may lead to damage of the cartilage surrounding the acetabulum and cause pain as well as stiffness. Ultimately, this damage may also lead to arthritis. There are two main types of hip impingement:

  • Cam impingement – occurs when the femoral head is not perfectly round
  • Pincer impingement – occurs when the femur bone bumps the rim of its deep socket

These types of impingement can also be present simultaneously. At Raleigh Orthopaedic, our hip specialists work with patients of all ages to address common hip concerns, including FAI. Learn more below.

Causes of Femoroacetabular Impingement

Femoroacetabular impingement often occurs from repetitive activity that requires the recurring movement of the legs and hips. Twisting, bending, and extending the legs beyond their normal range of motion during sports such as football, soccer, hockey, tennis, dance, and more may contribute to the development of this condition. Abnormal hip shape, particularly of the femoral head or neck, may also lead to cartilage and labral damage over time, resulting in femoroacetabular impingement.

Femoroacetabular Impingement Risk Factors

Risk factors of femoroacetabular impingement include an abnormal hip shape, which may be present from birth. Athletes who participate in sports that involve frequent bending or twisting may also develop an abnormal hip shape over time, making sports and untreated injuries of the affected area the main risk factors for FAI.

Symptoms of Femoroacetabular Impingement

Being aware of the potential symptoms of femoroacetabular impingement is key to seeking out the proper care for your condition and finding relief. An individual with femoroacetabular impingement may experience the following symptoms:

  • Hip area stiffness
  • Difficulty going up stairs
  • Loss of balance
  • Pain in the hip or groin, especially after sitting for long periods
  • Lack of range of motion in the hip
  • Difficulty bending

How is Femoroacetabular Impingement Diagnosed?

Femoroacetabular impingement may be diagnosed through a physical examination. If the range of motion of the hip joint appears impeded, or there is reason to suspect that you may have femoroacetabular impingement, imaging such as an X-ray, MRI, or CT scan can be performed. From there, your specialist at Raleigh Orthopaedic will talk you through your treatment options based on your specific condition, along with answering any questions you may have.

Treatment Options for Femoroacetabular Impingement

Femoroacetabular Impingement may be treated either surgically or nonsurgically. No matter what type of treatment your doctor recommends, they will make sure you feel confident and comfortable with your recovery plan.

Nonsurgical Treatment

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Conservative treatment such as rest and stopping certain activities may be the best first steps in some cases of FAI. You may also be prescribed anti-inflammatory medication or injections to reduce swelling, pain, and inflammation in the area. Following that, physical therapy may be recommended. We offer our patients convenient access to physical therapy care in Wake County. Our therapists work closely with our physicians to design treatment plans that are specifically tailored to each patient.

Surgical Treatment Options

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In cases where nonsurgical routes do not result in recovery, or the injury is more severe, surgical intervention may be the only course of action for femoroacetabular impingement. Minimally invasive treatments such as arthroscopic surgery are most commonly used and can correct genetic or acquired deformities. For more complex femoroacetabular impingement scenarios, an osteotomy can be performed instead. This procedure involves cutting a portion of the bone to allow for proper joint realignment. Additionally, due to the open nature of the surgery, a surgeon can clean and sculpt the socket of the joint for a smoother fit. In rare cases, individuals with femoroacetabular impingement may need a total hip replacement. Raleigh Orthopaedic is responsible for 2,000 joint replacements each year, and if total joint replacement is the best next step for you, we will offer our support throughout the entire process.

Femoroacetabular Impingement Recovery Time

Recovery time for femoroacetabular impingement varies depending on the treatment method utilized, but the most common surgical method results in several days of recovery in the hospital. Full recovery may take 3-6 months until you are able to return to unrestricted activity. Recovery often requires the use of crutches. No matter what type of treatment is recommended to you at Raleigh Orthopaedic, the members of your care team will provide clear instructions for your recovery, including what to expect, how to care for yourself and prevent further injury, and more.

How Can I Prevent Femoroacetabular Impingement?

It may not always be possible to prevent femoroacetabular impingement. For those born with a misshapen hip, treatment is the only option. Otherwise, rehabilitation after an injury and monitoring intense training can go a long way in preventing the development of hip-related injuries. Proper treatment is crucial in cases of FAI, as the proper care for your condition will prevent it from causing even more damage to the hip and surrounding area.

Expert Hip Care at Raleigh Orthopaedic

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For over 100 years, we have served patients at our orthopedic centers in Wake County and provided the highest level of orthopedic care. Whether you are facing pain from a sudden hip injury or have been dealing with hip issues for years, the members of our team are here to help you. We will create a personalized treatment plan with your unique needs in mind, making sure you feel confident in your care every step of the way. To set up an appointment with one of our orthopedic specialists in Wake County, give us a call or book online today.