Femoroacetabular impingement — also known as FAI or simply as hip impingement — is a common condition affecting competitive athletes and active older adults alike. With appropriate proactive treatment, many individuals with FAI can return to the playing field or their active lifestyle without pain and discomfort. The word to consider closely here is “proactive.” Without proper treatment and management, hip impingement can lead to degeneration of the cartilage in your hip and put you at risk of developing osteoarthritis. This is why you should consult the experienced orthopedic hip specialists at Advanced Orthopedics in Denver, Parker, and Aurora, Colorado, as soon as you feel pain or discomfort. At Advanced Ortho, you can stop hip impingement from impinging on your life.

Hip impingements are common. They occur when the femoral head (ball of the hip) pinches up against the acetabulum (cup of the hip). When this happens, damage to the labrum (cartilage that surrounds the acetabulum) can occur, causing hip stiffness and pain. Experts estimate hip impingement affects 10% to 15% of all adults and is seen more often in men. Health professionals now know that hip impingements are one of the leading causes of early osteoarthritis. With FAI, the cartilage within a joint begins to break down, and the underlying bone begins to change. In this case, the hip joint.

The hip is the joint where the thigh bone meets the pelvis. It is called a ball-and-socket joint because the ball-like top of the thigh bone fits into a cup-like area within the pelvis, much like a baseball fits into a glove. The acetabulum comprises the “socket” portion of this joint. The outer rim of the acetabulum is composed of fibrocartilage, known as the labrum. The labrum extends the ball socket, increases the overall stability of the joint, and acts to seal off the joint fluid to help lubricate the joint. The labrum also allows the ball and socket joint to operate smoothly during activity. The femoral head, or the top portion of the thigh bone, creates the “ball” portion of the hip joint. Disease, deformity, injury, and other issues involving the ball and socket joint may lead to a painful condition known as hip impingement.