Femoroacetabular Impingement in the Young Athlete

Groin pain in adolescents and young adults who play sports may be an early sign of Femoroace-tabular Impingment (FAI). This is a condition in which the bones of the hip are abnormally shaped. Because they do not fit together properly, the hip bones rub or impinge against each other during hip motion causing damage to the joint.

Left untreated, FAI can result in premature de-generation of the hip joint (osteoarthritis) and the patient may require hip replacement very early in their life.

Because participation in sports activity places a large amount of stress on the hip joint, adoles-cents and young adults with FAI who play sports are more likely to present with symptoms earlier than those whom do not participate.


  • Pain in the groin after prolonged sitting or walking
  • Pain in the groin with deep flexion or rotation of the hip during activity
  • Pain along the side of the thigh or the buttocks
  • Popping or clicking in the front of the hip

FAI can be suspected after a thorough physical exam and history. Radiographs, computed tomog-raphy, and MRI can accurately identify areas of potential femoroacetabular impingement, cartilage damage, and labral tears.

Treatment Options

The most appropriate treatment for a young athlete with FAI depends on family and patient desires, level of competition, functional disabil-ity, and symptoms. Each child is different, and your physician will suggest the best treatment option for the child. These include:


Treatment for FAI includes non-surgical options such as activity modification (avoiding deep hip flexion positions), physical therapy, injections and anti-inflammatory medications.

Medication Taking

anti-inflammatory medicine or NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) such as Motrin, Advil, Naproxen or Aleve as directed by your doctor may be helpful.


For those patients that have symptoms recalci-trant to conservative measures, hip arthroscopy or a surgical dislocation of the hip may be rec-ommended to repair damaged structures and reshape areas of impingement to help relieve pain, restore natural range of motion, and pre-vent arthritis.