Knowing the Difference Between a Cam or Pincer FAI

Whether you’re enduring hip pain, groin pain, or both, it’s important to get a diagnosis. If the cause of your discomfort is something known as femoral acetabular impingement — FAI for short — it’s important to understand that there are two types, both of which can be treated with a variety of approaches.

Over many years in practice, Dr. Struan Coleman has helped countless patients with both kinds of FAI and earned their trust. As a board-certified orthopedic surgeon, he combines his skill, experience, and personal approach to expertly diagnose and treat your FAI pain.

Every team member in our three offices ensures that your experiences with us, from appointment scheduling to determining your best course of treatment, are seamless and focused on your individual needs.

Understanding the components of your hip joint, and how they work together

First, it helps to have some understanding of the mechanics of the hip. The hip joint is made up of a ball and socket, essentially. The socket, or the acetabulum, is located in your pelvis and is surrounded by flexible tissue called the labrum, which steadies your hip joint. The top of your thigh bone is where the ball, or the femoral head, is. 

Articular cartilage protects your ball and socket hip joint and allows your hip to move smoothly and easily. 

The potential for injury to your hip is greater than some other joints because it’s in use nearly constantly. Your hips do everything from carrying your body weight to enabling most movements, from walking to getting in and out of a chair.  

The two types of FAI and their symptoms

When you suffer from either type of FAI, it means that the ball and socket movements of your hips are not in sync and are causing significant irritation. Extended irritation erodes the cushioning around your femoral head or your socket’s interior cartilage. 

When the cushioning is gone, FAI damage manifests in one of two ways. Pincer FAI is when your hip joint socket covers more of your femoral head than it should. This can seriously compromise your labrum. 

Cam FAI results from your femoral head becoming distorted. Since it’s no longer smooth and round, it wears away at the acetabulum’s cartilage. 

Dr. Coleman finds that patients with either type of FAI experience not only hip pain, but groin pain too. FAI pain is:

You can be affected by either cam or pincer FAI, or both. However you’re affected, Dr. Coleman can ease your hip pain through a variety of therapeutic approaches. 

FAI treatment options

Dr. Coleman offers a range of treatments for your FAI and typically uses conservative methods initially:

If these strategies don’t succeed in giving you long-term relief, Dr. Coleman recommends surgery. The hip arthroscopy procedure that Dr. Coleman performs is minimally invasive and precise, as a small camera helps to guide him.

During the surgery, he slices off part of your acetabulum’s bony rim or removes some of the femoral head if it’s too large, depending on which type of FAI you have. A surgical solution to your FAI pain brings real, long-lasting relief.

Learn more about how to relieve your FAI pain

Call our New York City office at 646-480-1387 or simply book an appointment online to discuss your treatment options and learn more about cam and pincer FAI.

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