Femoroacetabular impingement (FAI) is a recently described hip disorder resulting from an abnormal morphology between the proximal femur and acetabulum (socket). It is now recognized as a cause of hip pain in adolescents and young adults, and research has shown that it may also lead to early degenerative changes and osteoarthritis. Femoroacetabular impingement as a cause of precocious hip arthrosis was originally described by Ganz et al. in 2001, and a quick literature search on this topic will confirm that it has become a topic of cutting edge research within the orthopaedic community. The abnormal morphology in FAI results in increased hip contact forces with hip motion, especially flexion. This results in abnormal contact that can lead to acetabular labral tears and cartilaginous injury. Early diagnosis and treatment may possibly delay the future onset of hip arthritis.
Although the precise cause of FAI is not well understood, the condition has become increasingly recognized as a cause of hip pain in active adolescents and young adults. The purpose of this article is to outline the history, physical examination and radiographic findings, and current conservative and surgical treatment modalities for FAI.