05/15/2023 by Dr. Michaela Peterson
From Hip Impingement to Freedom of Movement: Chiropractic for FAI
Hip pain can make your life extremely challenging. When your hip isn’t working well, it’s hard to get around and do just about anything. One particularly debilitating hip condition for active folks and athletes is femoral acetabular impingement.
FAI limits your ability to exercise or participate in your favorite sports—causing pain and stiffness in your hip joint, especially during or after physical activity. The limited mobility you experience with FAI can leave you stuck at home while everyone else is out playing.
Like many other conditions of the hip, chiropractic care can help with femoral acetabular impingement. When it comes to hip pain, chiropractic is among the best non-invasive treatment and management options for FAI.
What is femoral acetabular impingement?
FAI results when there is abnormal contact between the ball and socket of your hip joint. This abnormalcy results in damage to your cartilage or bone. FAI can be caused by a combination of factors, including anatomical variations, injury, or repetitive motions that place stress on your hip joint.
What are the symptoms of femoral acetabular impingement?
The symptoms of FAI include:
- Reduced range of motion in your hip joint
Over time, suffering from FAI can lead to frustration, anxiety or depression from being so limited in what you can do. With FAI, you’re often left out, not able to participate in the activities you enjoy most.
How do chiropractors diagnose femoral acetabular impingement?
When diagnosing FAI, we start by assessing the range of motion in your hip joints to identify any discrepancies. Patients with FAI often experience limitations in flexion, adduction (squeezing the thighs together) and internal rotation—especially during activities like climbing stairs or squatting.
It's important to note that FAI can sometimes be mistaken for degenerative joint disease of the hip, and vice versa. To confirm the FAI diagnosis, we may order an X-ray. If the X-ray shows no signs of DJD, it is likely that FAI is the cause of your symptoms. Since these two conditions can have similar presentations, proper evaluation is essential.
How do chiropractors treat femoral acetabular impingement?
Chiropractic adjustments and traction of the femoroacetabular joint (hip joint) work wonders on impingement. Working to release the surrounding musculature will also improve your mobility.
We’ll work to reduce your pain and improve your hip joint function. We’ll likely use treatments aimed at increasing your joint mobilization, like myofascial techniques. We also may advise activities that reduce inflammation, stretch your hip flexors and strengthen your hip extensors.
How long does it take for chiropractic to work for femoral acetabular impingement?
Your treatment length and timeline will depend on the condition of your hip joint and your individual needs. Generally around the six to eight week mark, you'll likely see a lot of improvement. We'll check in at each session and adjust your treatment plan based on how you’re moving and feeling.
What is the best self-care for femoral acetabular impingement?
We always recommend complete self-care for healing and avoiding further health complications.
You may consider:
- Losing weight: Studies have shown the more weight you carry, the more hip pain you’ll feel. Even losing 5% of your weight can reverse inflammation and relieve your hip pain
- Modifying your exercise routine to avoid making your FAI worse
- Managing your stress: Stress causes your muscles to tense or spasm, increasing your pain. Stress also makes your cortisol rise, causing inflammation over time
Think you have femoral acetabular impingement?
If you are experiencing FAI symptoms, don't keep suffering! Our chiropractors in Aptos are here to help get you back into the activities you love. Book an online appointment and we’ll customize a treatment plan to help you get out of hip pain and back into your favorite exercise routine or sport.
Want to delve deeper into hip conditions?
Explore our comprehensive guide on various hip conditions.
Learn more about conditions of the hip here.