Hip FAI: Looking at Hip Pain through a Global Lens


Hip impingement syndrome, also called FAI (Femoroacetabular Impingement), is a painful condition experienced by young and middle-aged adults that limits range of motion at the hip joint.

Hip Joint Anatomy

The ball-and-socket structure of the hip joint normally permits a wide range of motion. The acetabulum of the pelvis forms the socket and the head of the femur (thigh bone) forms the ball. The two bony structures normally fit snugly together, and both are covered with slippery articular cartilage, allowing for smooth and unobstructed movement. The acetabulum is ringed by a strong fibrocartilage structure called the labrum, which forms a gasket around the socket, making a tight seal that helps to stabilize the hip joint.


In FAI, bone spurs develop on the femoral head and/or along the acetabulum, causing  abnormal contact between the hip bones and inhibiting smooth movement. Over time, the labrum may develop tears, and articular cartilage may begin to break down, causing osteoarthritis.

Symptoms of FAI may include:

  • Groin pain
  • Lateral hip pain
  • Low back pain
  • Stiffness and limited range of motion
  • Pain in the buttocks and hamstrings
  • Increased stiffness after exercise

Treatment for FAI

Traditional treatment for FAI often includes NSAIDs to manage pain, activity modification, physical therapy, and in some cases surgery to remove bone spurs. However, in zeroing in on the locus of pain, clinicians may be overlooking the bigger picture.

Because human movement is not isolated to one joint or body part at a time, it stands to reason that other global factors may play a role in FAI. Faulty movement mechanics, poor postural habits, old injuries and muscle tightness and weakness can all contribute to the deterioration of hip joint function.

When addressing FAI, clinicians should look at the big picture, and view FAI through a global lens that takes into consideration additional factors that may contribute to FAI.

FAI Treatment in NYC

The sports medicine team at NYDNRehab in NYC understands the integrated nature of human movement. We use the latest therapeutic methods and cutting edge technologies to identify and correct deficiencies in functional movement, eliminating pain at its source. Contact NYDNRehab today, and let our hip pain specialists diagnose and treat your hip pain, and the global issues that affect it.



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