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Published: November 1, 2022

Could your hip pain be caused by FAI?

Written by: Dr. Evan Steinke, B.Sc, DC

Hip pain is a common symptom that can come from a wide array of conditions. Femoroacetabular impingement (FAI) is one such condition that is characterized by limited motion of the hip and pain over and around the hip and groin region. To best understand this condition it is helpful to first examine the hip in a normal state.

The hip joint is a ball and socket joint that joins your pelvis and leg located along the groin. It is the joining of the upper leg bone, the femur, into the socket of the pelvis called the acetabulum. Hence the name, femoroacetabular joint, is really just the amalgamation of the femur (femoro) and the acetabulum (acetabular). This ball and socket joint provides a huge amount of mobility and is why we are afforded a such great range of motion in our legs. Muscles such as the glutes work to move our leg backwards, while muscles such as our quadriceps work to bring our legs forward.

In the case of impingement, we no longer have full motion of this ball and socket joint because of boney restrictions forming around the joint itself. As the bone growth begins to further encapsulate the joint it can no longer move as freely. If the bone growth is located on the femur it develops a raised lip near the joint. This is termed a ‘cam’ impingement. When the joint is moved this raised lip will now contact the opposing socket sooner than before, resulting in restricted movement and may also elicit pain. The opposite is also possible, boney growth of the socket can result in a ‘pincer’ that extends towards the femur. As the femur tries to move it will now collide with this new extended piece of bone again causing a restriction of motion and possibly pain.


Removing the bony growth would require surgery, however, conservative care methods can help manage symptoms and progression. Practitioners can utilize various techniques to help maintain joint health, preserve remaining joint mobility, adjust biomechanics, and improve ergonomics.

If you are interested in a more in-depth explanation of the hip joint you learn more in a webinar hosted by Dr. Evan Steinke HERE.

If you are looking to book a personal assessment to get to the source of your hip pain book in at either AST location. Our many expert practitioners will assist you in your journey toward better hip mobility. If you are looking to book in with Dr. Evan Steinke, he works at AST Westman.

*The content contained in this blog is provided for general information purposes only. They content is general suggestions and not intended to replace the services of a trained physician, physical therapist or chiropractor or otherwise to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. 

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