If you’ve never experienced an issue with your hip, you may assume that hip injuries are reserved for older individuals who have put decades of stress on their body, but that’s simply not true. Hip problems are quite common during puberty, as a result of athletic competition or following pregnancy and childbirth. We help treat countless patients who have developed a painful hip condition, and we want to be your resource in the event that you begin to develop discomfort in your hip.
There are a number of different issues that can affect your hip joint, but today’s blog is going to focus on hip impingement and a condition known as femoroacetabular impingement syndrome. Read on to learn more about how our team can help you overcome hip impingement issues without the need for surgery.
What Is Femoroacetabular Impingement Syndrome?
Femoroacetabular impingement syndrome is a condition in which there is premature contact between the acetabulum and the proximal femur. Essentially, it occurs when the ball of the femur head doesn’t fit quite right into the socket of the pelvis due to bone overgrowth on the femoral head or the acetabulum. FAI can develop during puberty, but it may not cause symptoms until later in life. Left untreated, hip joint degeneration and osteoarthritis may occur, which is why it’s so important so consult with a physical therapist if you’re beginning to feel discomfort in your hip joint.
Your physical therapist will work to determine which type of FAI you’re dealing with. There are three main types of FAI: pincer, cam and combined.
- Pincer – This type of hip impingement occurs when bone overgrowth extends out over the normal rim of the acetabulum.
- Cam – This type of hip impingement occurs when the femoral head is altered by bone overgrowth and cannot rotate smoothly inside the acetabulum. This bony prominence grinds on the cartilage inside the acetabulum.
- Combined – As the name implies, this type of impingement occurs when both cam and pincer types are present.
Treating FAI With Physical Therapy
If you are dealing with pain, discomfort or limited range of motion in your hip, set up a consultation with a doctor or a physical therapist. They’ll likely begin by asking about your symptoms, reviewing your medical history and by having you perform some simple movement tests. Odds are they’ll be able to determine if you are dealing with an impingement through these movement screens, but for a more advanced understanding of the type of impingement, they may order an imaging test like an X-ray, MRI or CT scan.
If you are dealing with hip impingement, the first line of treatment is almost always conservative care. While surgery can prove effective, it also carries some additional risks, so if the issue can be resolved without cutting you open, that’s the ideal route. Some ways that a physical therapist will help to treat your hip impingement and FAI include:
- Hip Strengthening Exercises – Improving the strength of the muscles that support the hip joint can help to take stress off the area and work to protect the injured labrum or cartilage.
- Range Of Motion Exercises – Your physical therapist will also have you perform some exercises that slowly work to expand your comfortable range of motion so that your hip joint can be more mobile.
- Activity Avoidance – Your PT can explain which activities should be avoided in the short- and long-term as you work to restore normal movement in your hip joint.
- Core Strengthening – We’ve said it on the blog in the past, but a number of different areas rely on a strong core for support. Your hips and pelvic floor are especially supported by strong core muscles, and if you have a weak core, that means more stress ends up on these other areas. A core strengthening program can go a long way in helping to manage conditions of the hip.
We’ve helped countless teens, athletes and mothers put a hip impingement problem in the past and move forward with a healthy gait, and we can do the same for you. For more information about hip or pelvis conditions, reach out to the team at OrthoRehab Specialists today at (612) 339-2041.