FAI (femoroacetabular impingement), or hip impingement, is when there is a shape mismatch between the ball and the socket of the hip joint that creates a conflict on the edge of the hip joint. There are two types of FAI: Cam and Pincer, but most patients have a combination of these. FAI is common in active people and athletes.
In either the FAI setting of a cam or pincer type impingements, both can result in trauma and eventual tearing of the labral tissue that can result in severe pain. Pain is typically felt in the groin during certain activities with high hip flexion but can also be felt in the lateral or back side of the hip. The pain is usually sharp and stabbing in certain positions, but there can underlying inflammation of the joint that causes a baseline dull achy pain. Pain can eventually become severe enough to interfere with daily activities like sitting, sleeping, and standing.
Conservative treatment options include avoiding pain triggering activities or NSAID medications such as ibuprofen, but if it gets worse, seek an evaluation by an orthopedic specialist. If necessary, both Cam and Pincer FAI can be fixed with a minimally invasive arthroscopic procedure that can reshape the joints and repair damage to the labral tissue.