In today’s article, we will shed light on femoroacetabular impingement (FAI), a common hip disorder that affects many individuals. We will explore the causes, symptoms, and most importantly, the role of physiotherapy in managing and treating this condition effectively.
What is Femoroacetabular Impingement (FAI)?
Femoroacetabular impingement, often referred to as FAI, is a condition characterised by abnormal contact between the ball-shaped head of the femur (thigh bone) and the acetabulum (socket) of the hip joint. This repetitive contact can lead to pain, limited range of motion, and eventually, joint damage if left untreated.
Causes of FAI:
FAI can develop due to several factors, including:
Muscle imbalances: an imbalance of muscle tightness or strength around the hip can cause the ball and socket joint to sit in a non-optimal position and create bony impingement.
Activity related: repetitive activities that involve excessive hip flexion (bending) and internal rotation. An example of this is deep lunges with poor technique.
Poor postural alignment: standing with hips forward can cause the pelvis to tilt, creating hip impingement.
CAM Impingement: This occurs when the head of the femur is not perfectly round, leading to an irregular shape that creates friction within the hip joint.
Pincer Impingement: In pincer impingement, there is excessive coverage of the femoral head by the acetabulum. This can be caused by a deep socket, abnormal growth of bone spurs, or structural abnormalities in the hip joint.
Mixed Impingement: In some cases, individuals may experience a combination of both cam and pincer impingement.
Symptoms of FAI:
Individuals with FAI often experience the following symptoms:
- Hip pain: Typically felt in the groin area or in the front of the hip, pain can range from mild discomfort to severe and debilitating.
- Limited range of motion: Activities such as squatting, sitting for prolonged periods, or engaging in sports requiring hip movements may become challenging due to restricted mobility.
- Clicking or locking sensation: Some individuals may experience a clicking or locking sensation in the hip joint during movement.
Physiotherapy as a Solution:
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Pain management techniques: Through a combination of manual therapy, soft tissue techniques, and targeted exercises, physiotherapy aims to alleviate pain and reduce inflammation in the hip joint.
Strengthening exercises: Strengthening the muscles around the hip joint, particularly the hip abductors, glutes, and rotators, can help provide better support, stability, and improve overall joint function.
Range of motion exercises: Physiotherapists employ specific exercises to improve flexibility and restore normal range of motion in the hip joint, allowing individuals to perform daily activities without pain or limitations.
Biomechanical/postural assessment and correction: A thorough assessment of the individual’s movement patterns, posture, and alignment is crucial in identifying any contributing factors to FAI. Physiotherapy can then address these issues through corrective exercises and postural education to help treat the condition and prevent future complications.
Femoroacetabular impingement can significantly impact an individual’s quality of life if left untreated. However, with the help of physiotherapy, individuals can find relief from pain, regain mobility, and prevent further joint damage. Our experienced physiotherapists are equipped with the knowledge and expertise to develop personalised treatment plans that address the root cause of FAI. Don’t let hip pain hinder your daily activities; schedule an appointment at one of our clinics today and take the first step towards a pain-free life.
Disclaimer: This article is intended for informational purposes only and should not replace individualised medical advice.