Femoral Acetabular Impingement (FAI)

Femoral Acetabular Impingement is also known as hip impingement.


Pain in the front of the hip, usually made worse by bringing the knee to the chest and rotating the thigh.


The ball-shaped head of the thigh bone does not move normally in the socket of the hip joint.  Often the condition is present without pain, but using the hip can bring on pain over time.

Diagnostic Tests

Bring hip to the chest and rotate the thigh, if this brings on anterior hip pain it is considered a positive test for FAI.

Inject a numbing medicine into the joint, if the numbing medicine provides temporary pain relief, it confirms that FAI is the problem (orthoinfo.aaos.org).

Imaging Tests

X-rays. These provide good images of bone, and will show whether your hip has abnormally shaped bones of FAI. X-rays can also show signs of arthritis.

Computed tomography (CT) scans. More detailed than a plain x-ray, CT scans help your doctor see the exact abnormal shape of your hip.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans. These studies can create better images of soft tissue. They will help your doctor find damage to the labrum and articular cartilage. Injecting dye into the joint during the MRI may make the damage show up more clearly. (orthoinfo.aaos.org)

Research Review

“There is a no evidence to either support or discourage the use of surgical interventions for femoroacetabular impingement. Therefore, patients undergoing surgical procedures for this condition should do so in the knowledge that it is still an unproven treatment modality.” Conclusion of Cochrane review.

Conservative Treatment

Some people with FAI who have a tight glute max (the largest glute muscle) may benefit from Active Release Techniques (ART), foam rolling and static stretching of the glute max.  The hip joint acts like a hinge and increasing the flexibility of the glute may reduce the compression at the front of the hip.

Articles I wrote or contributed to:

Telegraph  The ART of Active Release Techniques for Injuries

STACK  New Age of Golf Training is Creating Stronger and More Athletic Golfers

Athletics Weekly  Performance Therapy for Greg Rutherford

220 Triathlon  ART- How is it different from sports massage

Vigour Magazine  ART can release tight muscles to improve performance

Progenex  ART for CrossFitters

FIT Institute  Research based hamstring therapies

TPI  What Performance Therapy Looks Like For Top Golfers
Podcasts I was on:

Ben Coomber Radio 

Propane Fitness

I have treated the public and professional athletes for 19 years, using soft tissue work, Chiropractic, and prescribing the latest research based rehabilitation. I teach workshops in the North East of England to health professionals.

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