FAI Hip Impingement (Femoro-acetabular Impingement)

FAI Hip Impingement Awareness facts - It is estimated that approximately 15% of the young, adult population have hip impingement, so who do you know that might have it?
Hip impingement causes painful labral tears within the hip socket.
Hip FAI symptoms are misleading to the average medical professional, as FAI hip impingement pain frequently presents as low back pain and interesting only 10% of back pain is ever clinically diagnosed and cured... Which begs the question what percentage is actually caused by hip FAI or hip impingement, as its otherwise known.
The more active you are, the more likely you are to trigger hip impingement symptoms, so busy mums and gym bunnies beware... but at least you're in good company as many premiere league football players have also suffered FAI hip pain.
Hip impingement is diagnosed through x-ray and labral tears are diagnosed through MRI arthograms - but both need to be read by hip consultants specifically trained in FAI hip impingement.
There are 60,000 hip replacements every year in the UK and it now appears that FAI hip impingement, over the years, could be the leading cause of hip osteoarthritis. A silent epidemic.
Hip arthroscopy can reduce the hip impingement and reattach the torn labrum to the hip socket. This surgery can eliminate the pain and disability caused by FAI hip impingement and divert the need for hip replacement in later life.

Also please feel welcome to join in our help and advice forum for support. We have 3 advising FAI expert hip surgeons, 3 PT/physios and a sports medicine doctor as well as the largest international FAI hip impingement forum on the net:

Thursday, 8 October 2009

hip arthroscopy recovery swim swim swim

I am still in pain post hip arthroscopy. The hip arthroscopy to repair a detached labrum and FAI pincer was 13 wks ago tomorrow.
I no longer limp or think too much about walking. BUT I am still in pain, feels like the same pain. I have lost the groin pinching part mostly. I still have pain in my buttocks that aches and will not allow me to sit and participate in life. I have been attributing that pain soley to hamstring tendonitis/bursitis at the joint of the sit bone, not sure which it is supposed to be?! BUT yesterday tieing my shoe laces on my good leg/hip I virtually bent double and boy did I feel a pinch in my groin, that pain built all day and wrapped around into my buttock area and where hamstrings meet sit bones, totally mimicking the pain on my bad side, so I'm really not sure now what I think. I'm pretty sure I either pinched the labrum or bone hit bone, I'm not sure but it made me yelp.
But then IF my pain therefore is capsular, that means either the hip arthroscopy performed by Proff Schilders failed or the arthritis is worse than assessed at grade 2, or when I jarred my leg at week 2 I did more damage than estimated... ???

One thing is the pain I caused yesterday has eased off and it also made me realize the steroid in that hip, prior to my hols has worked, so much I have all but forgotten that good hip causes pain!

Anyhow I'm still waiting for Hammy steroids to take effect, I estimate one to 2 more weeks.
I am going water walking 4 days a week now for almost an hour at a time. I walk in all directions, jogg (wuhoo the freedom, I love it!) do glute, quad, adductor, hammy and glute exercises and then swim a mix of breaststroke and flutter kick. I love it because I switch off and think of it as me time at get on with it and before I know it its jacuzzi time! To relax off the muscles of course!
My pain is significant and not controlled by my anti inflammatories, better controlled by a heat patch applied to just above my hip and wrapping around onto glute muscle. No idea why and why should I when the experts don't know either! The pain is every alternate day and I have no idea of a pattern...but for this its VERY VERY similar to pre - op, now how is that?


  1. Hey Louisa,
    Just had my first day of water walking!!! It was wonderful. Sorry you're having so much pain, that sucks. Hopefully it is normal. I know from hanging around message boards people have had pain up to a year before they felt recovered. Try not to worry too much (like I worry obsessively, lol).


  2. Hey Vanessa is that supposed to make me feel better?? A year????? OMG!
    No only teasing a year's better than life huh?
    Water walking is amazing..I can't get out of the pool, every time I go I'm longer in there today 55 mins before I though Ok enough, helped by the unappealing idea of returning back to my Mum who's now quite resentfully looking after Izzy, its my only sanctuary!!

    Hope you're doing good.

  3. hey louisa...thought i would leave you a comment on your blog....i linked over from susie's.
    i have had 3 hip arthroscopies and each one has taken a good 6 mos to really start feeling better. my recoveries were all very slow and i think that is sort of how it works...at least what i have been told and experienced.
    my right hip worked well...one surgery...
    my left hip is a disaster and have already had 2 in that one and another scheduled in a month or so.
    i will send good thoughts your way. hang in there...it will get better...but sorta slow.

  4. Soccermom that sounds like hell frankly! What went wrong with your left hip ops, what were they treating?

    So I'm adding up thats swallowed at least 2 yrs of your life just in treatment! Have you a blog I can link to? I know I've seen your name pop up again and again.

    And thank you though because if it takes time and I eventually get better its worth it and others need to hear that too and not panic about the huge chunk of time it takes thinking its failed, so thanks v much for contributing.

  5. don't have a blog...at this point i am so far into it, where would i start? :)
    i pop up on the aussie site and the fai yahoo site from time to time. i have been dealing with this since fall of 2006 when i broke my leg. always had hip probs but was on crutches an extended period of time and my hip went to heck.
    had a less than surgeon try to fix it...i just didn't know better. then found a specialist...but the first guy did me in on that left hip. been playing catch up since. the good surgeon did my right hip and it is perfect. the good surgeon has been trying to fix the left...but he can only work with what he has here! personally i think the first guy removed too much labrum. they do more repairs now than debridements. i also think my capsule is shot. susie helps me a lot since she is a pt. i am a nurse and teach nursing. so i know just enough to be "dangerous" and a "pain". :)
    give the one hip a bit more time. i do think you will see some progress...but it is 2 steps forward and 1 back. very slow...like a snail.
    i will continue to send you cheers!

  6. Thanks Soccer mum, be nice to know your progress too..wish you much luck, you've been thru a lot.

  7. Hi Louisa,

    just wanted to say I'm 6 months on from arthroscopy (have dysplasia and a serious patch of arthritic damage with bone on bone) and it definitely (sorry to say) was a very slow process - my surgeon told me 6 months and I confess I didn't really believe him at first but I have seen and am continuing to see improvements. I did get a lot of pain relief from the scope and it's been more walking and range of movement I've had problems with. I was still walking with a stick at 4 1/2 months post op and the limp has only recently gone. I would echo soccermum's comment about feeling like it's one step forward two steps back - that's how it has been for me. Hope it continues to improve.

    Dee x

    ps love the shopping triathlete hobby !!

  8. Thanks Dee!
    Can I just say if ROM is your problem go and walk in water for 20-30 mins, Its almost like a miracle! See what you think, you might get hook, its how I totally got rid of my limp I was amazed.
    Great re the pain though. We all keep soldiering on, don't we?!
    PS I didn't know dysplasia could be fixed arthroscopically! Thats fantastic, I'm still like a hawk with my 1 yr old daughter, who they cleared for dysplasia..Its a real trial to fix that.
    keep me posted x

  9. sounds like a great plan - you've inspired me to try it.. No the dysplasia isn't fixed unfortunately - next step is a THR on the bad side as the damage is too far gone for a PAO. My OS decided to do the arthroscopy to give me some pain relief as he wants me to have kids before a THR if possible. He thinks it might buy me 2 years or so. Phew to your daughter but worth keeping an eye on as she gets older as they can miss it. Take care..D x