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Femoroacetabular Impingement (FAI): a Hip Dysfunction

FAI is a pathomechanical process in which abnormal-contact stresses between the ball and socket cause joint damage around the hip, predisposing the patient to osteoarthritis and labral degeneration. FAI-related pain may be felt in the groin, in the low back, around the hip and sometimes in the thigh.

Who is at risk?

FAI is common in high level athletes, but also occurs in active individuals. While either type of impingement can occur in women at any age, most frequently the Cam type of impingement tends to affect women in their 30s and 40s who are athletically active. Sports associated with FAI include Martial Arts, Ballet, Cycling, Rowing, Golf, Tennis, Soccer, Football, Ice Hockey, Baseball, Lacrosse, Field Hockey, Rugby, Water Polo, and Deep squatting activities such as power lifting.


There may be no pain or symptoms

Exercises that should be avoided when training with FAI:

Suggestive Exercises:

According to Chris Gellert, both a physical therapist and a personal trainer, therapist should focus on lengthening tight musculature and then stabilizing weaker phasic musculature (glutes, hamstring and core).

He further adds, begin with single plane exercises, horizontal leg press, leg curls, hip extension, building up to biplanar axis exercises, such as diagonal reverse lungeand diagonal forward lunge, to challenge the nervous system. Progress further to compound exercises, such as mini-squat with mid row, reverse lunge with overhead medicine ball chop, and forward lunge with trunk rotation holding a medicine ball.

Note: Exercise choice and type of equipment will depend on the patient’s experience with exercise, her body type, goals and whether or not the client has had surgery.

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