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Femoroacetabular Impingement Syndrome (FAIS)

What is Femoroacetabular Impingement Syndrome (FAIS)?

Femoroacetabular impingement syndrome (FAIS) is a condition characterized by abnormal contact between the proximal femur (thigh bone) and the acetabulum (hip socket) during hip movement. This contact can lead to pain, limited range of motion, and functional impairment. Understanding the causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment options for FAIS is essential for effective management and improved quality of life for affected individuals.

What are the causes of FAIS?

FAIS can result from structural abnormalities in the hip joint that cause abnormal bone shapes, predisposing individuals to impingement during hip movement. These abnormalities can be congenital or acquired and include cam-type impingement (femoral head abnormality) and pincer-type impingement (acetabular rim abnormality). Additionally, certain activities or sports that involve repetitive hip motion may contribute to the development of FAIS.

What are the symptoms of FAIS?

The symptoms of FAIS can vary depending on the underlying cause and severity of the condition. Common symptoms include:

  1. Pain or discomfort in the hip joint or groin area, particularly during activities like walking, sitting, or physical exercise.
  2. Limited range of motion in the hip joint, especially with movements like flexion, internal rotation, or combined hip movements.
  3. Clicking, catching, or locking sensations in the hip joint during movement.
  4. Stiffness or tightness in the hip and surrounding muscles.
  5. Difficulty performing activities that require hip flexibility or stability.

How is FAIS diagnosed?

Dr. Shane J. Nho diagnoses FAIS through a comprehensive evaluation, including a combination of medical history assessment, physical examination, imaging studies, and diagnostic injections. Proper diagnosis is crucial for determining the underlying cause of hip pain and guiding appropriate treatment strategies to alleviate symptoms and improve joint function. Diagnostic tools may include:

Medical History Assessment

Reviewing the patient’s history for hip pain, previous injuries, or activities that exacerbate symptoms. Dr. Shane J. Nho will inquire about any previous hip injuries, surgeries, or medical conditions that may contribute to hip pain. Additionally, information about the onset and duration of symptoms, as well as any aggravating or alleviating factors, can provide valuable insights into the condition’s nature and severity.

Physical Examination

A comprehensive physical examination is essential for assessing hip joint impingement, range of motion, and muscle strength. During the examination, Dr. Shane J. Nho will perform specific tests to evaluate the integrity of the hip joint and its surrounding structures.

Imaging Studies

Imaging studies are instrumental in visualizing the hip joint structures and identifying any abnormalities that may contribute to hip impingement. Common imaging modalities used in the diagnosis of FAIS include:

  • X-rays: X-rays provide detailed images of the bones and can help identify fractures, dislocations, or bony abnormalities such as hip dysplasia or femoroacetabular impingement (FAI).
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI): MRI is particularly useful for evaluating soft tissue structures such as the labrum, ligaments, and cartilage. It can help identify labral tears, ligamentous laxity, or other structural abnormalities.
  • Computed Tomography (CT) Scan: CT scans may be used to provide more detailed images of bony structures and can be helpful in assessing complex fractures or bony abnormalities.

Diagnostic Injections

In some cases, diagnostic injections may be used to confirm the source of hip pain and impingement. A local anesthetic and/or corticosteroid injection may be administered directly into the hip joint or surrounding structures under imaging guidance. If the injection provides temporary pain relief, it can help confirm the diagnosis and guide further treatment decisions.

At a Glance

Dr. Shane Nho

  • Board-certified, fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeon
  • Team Physician for Chicago Bulls, White Sox, Steel
  • Performs more than 700 procedures each year
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