Why You Shouldn’t Ignore Chronic Hip and Groin Pain

As we live our lives, minor injuries and wear and tear take their toll on our joints. Often, time and home care are enough to get rid of discomfort, but when pain becomes perpetual, it’s time to seek care.

If you’re enduring chronic pain in your hip and groin, you likely have a condition known as femoral acetabular impingement (FAI), which affects your hip joint. It limits movement and, in turn, prevents you from engaging in enjoyable activities.

Dr. Struan Coleman treats many patients afflicted with FAI, and always takes the time to study and discuss your unique symptoms. He and Our team are dedicated to restoring your pain-free movement and getting you back to enjoying normal activities again. 

How your hip joint works

Your hips consist of large ball and socket joints. The acetabulum is the socket and part of our pelvic bone. The femoral head is the ball component of the joint, and is attached to your thighbone, or femur. 

Your hip joint performs important work. It stabilizes your body, carries your weight, and allows your lower extremities to move in many ways. Your hip joints enable walking, stair climbing, and squatting. They also make it possible for you to turn your legs and feet inward, and outward.  

You can move your hip easily and fluidly thanks to articular cartilage, the issue that covers the outer areas of your hip ball and socket

Why does FAI develop?

In a perfect world, your articular cartilage keeps your joint moving smoothly, but when friction occurs, pain and an inability to move freely accompanies it. This can be caused by repetitive motions that are common in sports like football, baseball, cycling, and martial arts, and even routine daily activities. Some FAI, however, evolves from abnormalities that are present at birth. 

FAI develops in three ways:

  1. Cam impingement occurs when your femoral head, or the ball part of your hip joint, is misshapen and no longer able to rotate in your acetabulum, the socket. What ultimately happens is that a hard protrusion emerges on the edge of your femoral head, which grinds up the cartilage that’s in your acetabulum. 
  2. Pincer impingement occurs when a surplus of bone stretches out over the rim of your acetabulum. This endangers your labrum, which is the ring of sturdy cartilage that surrounds your acetabulum. It gives your hip flexibility and support, but the pincer impingement sets your labrum up for severe compression.
  3. Combined impingement happens when you’re suffering from both cam and pincer impingement simultaneously. 

Symptoms of impingement problems include pronounced pain in the front of your thigh or in your groin, and hip pain. Sometimes your hip catches or locks up, too. 

Pain can worsen after you’ve sat for a long time or performed activities that require you to bend at the waist, like picking something up. Climbing stairs and walking up or down an incline and on uneven surfaces can also trigger discomfort. 

What are my FAI treatment options FAI?

As always, Dr. Coleman creates a treatment plan that’s tailored to you and based on your history of pain, overall medical history, and which type of impingement you have. He may  recommend imaging tests so he can better visualize what’s happening in your hip. 

Dr. Coleman typically advises conervative treatments initially, which include:

PT can help you heal by improving your range of motion and strengthening your gluteus and core muscles, injections relieve pain and swelling for some months, and resting and avoiding harmful movements are essential preventive strategies. 

Dr. Coleman may also talk to you about surgery if these treatments fail or if your FAI is very severe from the get-go. 

The procedure that Dr. Coleman performs on patients with FAI is hip arthroscopy, a minimally invasive outpatient procedure that he usually completes in an hour’s time. The surgery allows him to carefully remove excess bone precisely where necessary and repair a labrum tear if you’re in need of that, at the same time. 

This hip reshaping process is a game-changer for FAI sufferers. Check out this detailed video that shows Dr. Coleman as he explains hip impingement and illustrates the arthroscopy procedure to an actual patient.  

Another video shows Dr. Coleman performing pincer impingement correction and labral repair. 

Compared to open surgery, minimally invasive hip arthroscopy involves less pain, scarring, and bleeding, and faster healing. 

You're in the best hands when you entrust your care to Dr. Coleman, not only because of his expertise and compassion, but because of his extensive experience in sports medicine, and treating the pros. 

Call the office that’s most convenient to you to learn more about how he can relieve your FAI, or book an appointment online

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