Arthroscopy for Femoroacetabular Impingement
Affecting nearly 20% of the population, femoroacetabular impingement (FAI) is a condition characterized by early degeneration of the hip joints—and it’s one of the leading causes of hip trauma among athletes. Fortunately, many athletes suffering from FAI don’t require open hip surgery to remedy their condition. Thanks to the minimally invasive and highly effective results of hip arthroscopy, many FAI patients can make a timely and complete return to their favorite activities with comprehensive pain relief.
FAI in Athletes
Although physicians most often find FAI in athletes, athletic activity is not a cause of the condition; however, it can exacerbate the symptoms. FAI occurs in childhood years during hip development, and it’s distinguished by the formation of bone spurs on either the head of the femur or one of the corresponding joint sockets. These bone spurs create friction within the hip socket, which causes damage to the adjacent cartilage over time.
Types of FAI include:
Characterized by excess bone formation at the socket of the joint, which disrupts the range of motion. The pincer impingement occurs more commonly in women in their 30s and 40s and those who are athletically active.
Results from disfigurations in the ball of the hip socket, or femur, which prevents it from properly fitting within the joint. This type of impingement is more frequently found in young male athletes in their 20s.
Identified as a combination of both pincer and cam impingement
The symptoms of FAI often appear earlier in athletes, because they regularly exert the affected joint. Likewise, FAI symptoms can appear early in non-athletes that regularly workout for recreation.
Sports frequently associated with FAI include ballet, baseball, cycling, martial arts, golf, rowing, tennis, football, soccer, ice and field hockey, lacrosse, rugby, water polo, and deep squatting actions such as power lifting.
FAI Treatment via Arthroscopy
There are many conservative care options to treat early cases of FAI, including physical therapy, lifestyle changes, and anti-inflammatory medications. However, when symptoms continue to persist, physicians may recommend imaging or minimally invasive testing to determine the remaining amount of hip socket cartilage. If there is a salvageable amount of cartilage remaining, arthroscopy is often recommended as an effective, minimally invasive option. For patients that have severe cartilage deterioration, however, a complete replacement may be the most viable treatment option.
Fortunately, for those eligible for arthroscopy, the procedure and recovery are fairly manageable. During the procedure, a surgeon makes one or more small incisions near the affected area to feed the necessary operative tools, including a camera installed at the end of a tube. The surgeon then removes or repairs the remaining pieces of cartilage and corrects the bone spur growth to remedy the symptomatic hip pain of FAI. The patient’s clinical team can then create a rehabilitation plan that retrains their corrected joints to fit their athletic needs. Most patients can return to their normal athletic lifestyle in as little as six weeks.
FAI Treatment in St. Augustine
Even the slightest hip pains can take players out of the game, which is why you should never delay treatment for yours. If you’re ready to find a solution to get you off the sidelines, make an appointment with the orthopaedic specialists at Orthopaedic Associates of St. Augustine. We offer a range of sports medicine treatments for FAI, so you can choose the plan that helps you recover and return to your team. To schedule an appointment, fill out our request form online or call 904-825-0540 for more information.
JAMES GRIMES, MD
Board Certifications in Orthopaedic Surgery and Sports Medicine. Dr. Grimes specializes in sports medicine and reconstruction of the shoulder, hip and knee.