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Femoral-Acetabular Impingement (FAI)


Because the primary symptom is pain, FAI is can be mistaken for other hip conditions. Too much abnormal rubbing at the hip joint damages the cartilage. Learn more about who’s at risk for FAI and how it’s treated.

Causes & Triggers

  • Genetics/heredity (abnormal development)
  • High-level athletics

Signs & Symptoms

  • Dull ache
  • Pain (especially groin, outer thigh)
  • Sharp, stabbing pain when turning, twisting, squatting

Tips & Treatment

  • FAI is classified by type:
    • Pincer: bone spur extending over the acetabulum
    • Cam: bone spur on femoral head
    • Combined impingement: involves both cam and pincer bone spurs
  • While technically not caused by physical sports activities, high-level athletes and highly active individuals are often diagnosed with this condition.
  • Treatment ranges from lifestyle changes, such as reduced activity and hip strengthening therapy, to arthroscopic surgery to repair cartilage and reduce friction.

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