FAI can be defined by having some structural changes in the hip joint itself, via bony changes/growths that will cause a limitation in the hips range of motion.
The hip is a ball-and-socket joint where it is comprised of the acetabulum (socket) and the head of the femur (ball). Both can be affected, causing limitations in the total range available in the joint.
There are two types of FAI’s. First is a Cam lesion, which is a bony growth/spur on the head of the femur. The other is a Pincer lesion, where the acetabulum has a bony growth/spur.
When the leg is flexed, the front of the hip is where you will feel the pinch the most.
This can most commonly be felt at the midpoint of a squat, which is equivalent to sitting in a standard chair.
Other movements would include the knee crossing your midline or having the hip at 90 degrees and rotating the femur so the foot moves out to the side.
Usually, bony spurs result as an adaptation by growing bone in a specific area to accommodate for increasing loading. This means position of the hip joint and where forces are being directed can be a result of why the impingements happen in the first place.
Research shows that “Dynamic anterior pelvic tilt is predicted to result in earlier occurrence of FAI in the arc of motion, whereas dynamic posterior pelvic tilt results in later occurrence of FAI, which may have implications regarding nonsurgical treatments for FAI.” (reference below)
By learning how to perform a pelvic tilt, we can delay the point when a possible impingement may occur.
Below is a quick video on how we like to teach a pelvic tilt to begin to learn how to perform the actions on your own.
Also, as a bonus, we mentioned that crossing the midline is another cause for impingements. Below we added a hip shift with a foam roller. You need to master the pelvic tilt first, before moving to this exercise as it is crucial to maintain pelvic position as we shift form one hip to the other.
Need more help on getting your hips looser?
Maybe you aren’t sure if you have an impingement that needs to be looked at by a skilled professional.
Schedule a Free Discovery Call with a PT and we can guide you through options and see if you are appropriate for treatments.
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Ross, J. R., Nepple, J. J., Philippon, M. J., Kelly, B. T., Larson, C. M., & Bedi, A. (2014). Effect of changes in pelvic tilt on range of motion to impingement and radiographic parameters of acetabular morphologic characteristics. The American journal of sports medicine, 42(10), 2402–2409. https://doi.org/10.1177/0363546514541229
Dr. Peter Dionisopoulos is the owner and founder of Dynamic Performance & Rehab. He has a Doctorate in Physical Therapy and enjoys to help active adults maintain their lifestyle and provide natural solutions to their pain.