How is femoroacetabular impingement treated?
Treatment for femoroacetabular impingement will depend on the severity of symptoms. Some patients will be able to be treated conservatively with the first recommendation being a change of activity and physical therapy. If certain activities such as sports or lifting are causing the pain, Dr. Nwachukwu may recommend avoiding these activities for a short period of time. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can also be of benefit along with activity modification. In some cases, Dr. Nwachukwu will recommend a hip joint injection. Hip injections can be useful for providing pain relief and in some patients can provide sustained long-term relief. If long-term relief is obtained then injections can be safely administered periodically. Adequate pain relief from a hip joint injection can also be useful for identifying the hip joint as the primary source of pain. You should expect to have a detailed conversation with Dr. Nwachukwu about your non-operative treatment options.
Strengthening Exercises to avoid surgery for FAI:
Dr. Nwachukwu has a series of hip mobility and strengthening exercises to help patients avoid surgery for femoroacetabular impingement. This series of videos can be found here: Hip Exercise Videos.
Dr. Nwachukwu will only recommend surgery after an adequate trial of non-operative treatment. In patients requiring surgery for the treatment of femoroacetabular impingement, Dr. Nwachukwu will use an arthroscopic surgical approach. Femoroplasty is done using small incisions and thin, small surgical instruments. Dr. Nwachukwu will use a small camera to view the inside of the hip and he will repair any damage to the labrum and articular cartilage. In addition, part of the surgery will involve re-shaping the hip joint to remove anatomic abnormalities and mechanical impingement.
To address the different types of impingement, there are various surgical procedures that may be utilized. For instance, in cases of pincer impingement, Dr. Nwachukwu may trim the bony rim of the socket (acetabulum). In cases of cam impingement, he may shave down the bump on the ball (femoral head). Surgery for FAI usually helps to reduce the symptoms caused by the impingement as well as helping to slow down or prevent future damage to the hip joint. It is important to note that patients with FAI are potentially at risk for future joint damage. That is why seeking treatment as soon as symptoms appear from a qualified orthopedic hip specialist, has been shown to yield better long-term results. Hip problems can be difficult to diagnose and treat, therefore, it is important to seek treatment from Dr. Nwachukwu who has specific training and expertise in hip arthroscopy.