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I Was Just Diagnosed With Femoroacetabular Impingement. What Are My Options?

I Was Just Diagnosed With Femoroacetabular Impingement. What Are My Options?

Femoroacetabular impingement (FAI) is certainly a mouthful and, unfortunately, it’s a term you now need to familiarize yourself with, having received a diagnosis for this often painful hip condition. 

FAI isn’t common — it affects only 54.4 people out every 100,000 — but it’s a condition that often gets worse unless you seek the right help.

At Western Orthopaedics, we’re pleased to have a hip expert as part of our team —  Dr. Brian White — who performs more than 400 hip arthroscopies each year.

In the following, we review what your FAI diagnosis means and how we can help you move forward with less hip pain.

Behind your hip impingement diagnosis

If you’ve been diagnosed with FAI, the odds are good that the issue has been brewing for some time. 

Hip impingement occurs when there’s an issue in the way the bones in your hip joint fit together. Perhaps your femoral head is misshapen or there's an abnormality in the shape of the socket — issues that you’ve had since birth. 

Over time, this improper fit causes friction within the joint that can lead to bone growths and soft tissue damage that exacerbate the issue — and cause you a good deal of hip pain.

There are three types of FAI, including:

  1. Pincer — there’s extra bone around the rim of the socket
  2. Cam — there are bony growths on the head of the femur
  3. Combined — a mixture of pincer and cam impingements 

Whichever type of FAI you have, the road ahead is the same in terms of potential complications and treatment options.

Complications of hip impingement

Some people go their whole lives with a hip impingement and are blissfully unaware of the issue. If you’re reading this, you likely fall into the other category — those who do develop symptoms.

Once you start to develop pain and stiffness, and you receive a FAI diagnosis, the problem isn’t likely to go away on its own. In fact, it’s likely that the impingement will worsen over time and complications will develop, such as:

Labral tears are closely associated with hip impingement, and the prevalence of these tears in people who report hip or groin pain is between 22% and 55%.

How we can treat your FAI

If you have hip pain due to FAI and it’s not responding to conservative treatments, such as rest and anti-inflammatory medications, it might be time to explore a surgical solution, especially if you have a labral tear.

Dr. White is a leading expert in labral reconstructions, and he’s helped many of our patients to regain pain-free movement after an FAI diagnosis. When he goes in arthroscopically, Dr. White removes any problematic bone spurs and repairs the damaged labral tissue. These two steps are often enough to remove the friction inside your hip and relieve the pain.

If you’d like to figure out which treatment option is best for you and whether surgery makes sense, we invite you to contact one of our offices in Arvada or Denver, Colorado, to schedule a consultation with Dr. White.

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