Femoroacetabular impingement (FAI)

Femoroacetabular impingement (FAI), also known as hip impingement, is a condition in which extra bone develops along one or both of the bones that form the hip joint. Because they do not fit together perfectly, the bones rub against each other during movement. Over time this friction can damage the joint, causing pain and limiting activity.

Types of FAI

There are three types of FAI:

  • Pinceris a type of impingement that is caused by the extensions of extra bones over the normal rim of the acetabulum. The labrum is then crushed under the rim of the acetabulum.  
  • Incamimpingement the femoral head is not round which prevents it from smoothly rotating inside the acetabulum. A bump then forms on the femoral head edge which grinds the cartilage.

Combinedimpingement means that both cam and pincer are present.


It is possible to experience this condition and be completely asymptomatic, however the most common symptoms of FAI include:

  • Pain
  • Stiffness
  • Limping
  • Clicking/catching

Pain often occurs in the groin area, although it may occur toward the outside of the hip.


FAI occurs because the hip bones do not form normally during the childhood growing years. It may be caused by repetitive overuse during adolescence, due to chronic growth plate irritation causing abnormal bone growth around the hip.


The underlying problem with FAI is the abnormal bony shape, which will not change with physical therapy. However, the shape of the bones do not cause pain, instead other structures can be injured such as the labrum or articular cartilage which tend to cause pain in the hip. Initial treatment such as rest and rehabilitation may help ease minor symptoms, however persistent symptoms may require arthroscopic surgery.


  • Physiotherapy
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications
  • Activity Changes


Make an appointment today

Our team of dedicated orthopedic specialists are internationally trained to handle femoroacetabular impingement pain, symptoms and treatment. Focusing on each individual to deliver the best possible outcome, we can help to streamline your experience and manage every step of the journey.

Get in touch today. Use ourcontact form to submit an enquiry and one of our specialists will get back to you as soon as possible.

Femoroacetabular Impingement FAQs

How common is femoroacetabular impingement?

FAI is most common in healthy, active adults and athletes between the ages of 25-50 years. In older patients, it is also frequently accompanied with osteoarthritis.

Does stretching help hip impingement?

Addressing internal rotation to combat symptoms can sometimes provide relief, however if you’re too aggressive and stretch too high up into hip flexion it can actually increase hip pain. For this reason, it is important to seek professional help when treating FAI.

Is surgery required for hip impingement?

Typically, non-surgical methods for therapeutic injections are used to treat hip impingement before surgery. If pain persists, we may recommend surgery to reshape the bones in the hip joints.