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:

Friday, 19 February 2010

7 months post hip op and getting better!!!

I have been delaying writing this as I think I am FINALLY!!!!!! starting to improve, quite a bit - no idea why, not much different, unless the thought of not having to climb so many stairs, because of the immanent house move counts??!

I have continued to do the water exercises and included some of the Griffin video stretches from the last blog post, esp the illiac psoas stretch.. also doing a bit of the hip hiking exercise.
I saw a reiki healer twice and a chiropractor twice also, but doubt this can be the big change, as my left hip (good hip) is going down sadly.
I think I may just have needed more time post surgery, 7 months to be precise! 4 months over what I was told to expect! Initially I was told 3 months to recovery, when that didn't happen, I was told 6 months to recovery! ..and at 6 months I was told "well in some cases it can be a year or more"... The problem with that approach is when you're not better at 3 months you think "what the hell is wrong with me?" and then at 6 months when they start saying "maybe a year or so", you're thinking I don't believe you, I don't think I'll ever get better and you're moving the goal posts to try shut me up!

Expectation management for this op is a bit crap. I'm not an 18 year old professional footballer, so odds on I won't respond like one. I'm a middle-aged (ouch!), over tired, sugar loving Mum of two physically demanding very young children/baby.. so I can't spend hours and hours laying about, then training, then been psysio'd, massaged and drinking protein shakes! My hips aren't worth 25 gazillion pounds to a premiere league football manager!
My hips have to keep going or the family falls to pieces, I'd like to think I'm flattering myself, but I'm not.. My hubby runs a busy company, I have a four year old and a one year old, add crutches into the mix and its chaos!

I hope I am managing to express how myself and many other hip bloggers I read about are so hard on themselves and push themselves fiercely in rehab and physio and perhaps, partly because our recovery expectations are set unrealisically high.
Anyhow, that gripe over, or more to the point struggling recoverees hope that gives you hope!
So, yes I can sit for waaayyy longer, been driving about, eating meals in restaurants and just been to the cinema with my 4 year old and nothing horrific has yet happened! I notice also I can walk faster without groin pain, I caught myself overtaking someone on the path to school and suddenly though "woohoo get me!!"

The only bad thing that currently remains is my persistent pain in my bum when I lay flat on my back and its almost instant? But for now, with so much on, I have delayed the MRI neurography and consequential medical stress, for the burying my head in the sand approach! Its almost certainly nerve irritation caused by either piriformis or hip joint irritation.. as it stands I'm happy to delay further tests until after we have moved house in April-ish, and hoping that by then this improving malarky takes away the need!


  1. Fantastic News! The doctor did tell me if I had the arthroscopy I would not feel better for a year. I am so happy it didn't take you that long, now DON'T overdo it!!!


  2. Mine said I'd be able to pick up my 34lb daughter by 6 weeks post op... I've only just started properly picking her up 2 weeks ago at 6 and a half months!!
    Hip made an awful grinding noise this morning as I externally rotated it whilst laying flat on my stomach, its become quite noisy.. I'm wondering if now the inflammation is calming, if its cracking and crunching just because it can!
    Anyway thank you and how are you?

  3. That is so awesome to hear ! I have to say mine is starting to come around now too. I am having horrible pain in my non-operated hip and I am starting to look forward to getting it done this summer. Amazing how time flies.

  4. I am two years post-op and still in and out of physio, but glad I had the surgery. Keep your spirits--and the blog up!

  5. Hi Erin glad you're ok, was a bit worried about you after talking on Face bk last ..and now you don't do your blog I've no reference point for you!
    Brandeli How is it 2 yrs post op?? When did you feel better? Had your surgery worked, or kind of worked, like for so many... its as if there is a missing component that the docs refuse to admit exists to this op/recovery.

  6. Yay Louisa, finally things are going the right way for you, sounds really positive and long may it continue! Sam xx ps. yes recovery definitely is at least a year for all these bloomin hips isn't it?

  7. Thanks, yes for sure a year, gone a bit backwards the last couple of days since the weird grinding noise??! But my physio thinks it probably was scar tissue so I'm hoping it'll turn back around. My left hip is also really bad at the mo. I started picking up Izzy in the last couple of weeks and think perhaps that is taking its toll - annoying as it looms over me, not letting me forget that I am not yet out of the woods!

    You're still struggling I was reading, still pain, but then a bigger op and only 3 months post. Is the water helping much??

  8. I was told by my surgeon to reduce load carrying before my op... very difficult for you to do though when you have a little one to care for and haven't been able to pick her up for ages. Scar tissue rips tend to be really sore for a few days, then settle down a few of us have found, so fingers crossed it is that and might loosen things up.

    You have the option to schedule the other hip when this one has been good for a few months, so try and keep that in sight to get you through. Now I have had so many surgeries (8 now, though last two in one and a mix of daycase/inpatient) in 3 years, I have to say just being in sight of no more surgery and reduced pain is a much easier place to be. So although contemplating another surgery in this year is scary, maybe just getting it out the way and putting an end to these years of hip hell would be good? Very difficult choice.

    Hydro feels nice to be able to move well, but only had 2 sessions so far and haven't seen a reduction in pain yet. I really need my flexion back!

  9. When you can try walking across the pool on tip toes for 20 mins, well it did wonders for me, though "do check with a health professional first! :)"
    I think everything you said is bang on and that's my thinking to try for this summer or autumn.. Glad to hear (scar tissue giving) bit sore for few days first as so far that fits. Bizarre, was scared was labrum tear but doubt I'd hear that.. Strange things hips!! x

  10. thanks for your blog, i am 20 weeks into it and was feeling like you are now, i started to wear compression shorts when i have to stand and be active and walking around and it has helped lots. i feel it is keeping the hip in place longer and less inflamation and allows me to do my exercises pain free. love the book idea, starting the swiming thing in the am

  11. Reading your blog has both given me hope and scared me. I have had 3 previous knee surgeries and had early childhood hip dysplasia and am now facing FAI surgery for my right hip. I have been giving the option to deal with the pain for a little while longer and just have a total hip replacement. With a 4 month old and a husband that travels a lot I am trying to make the decision as to what would be best. I don't have any family closer than a 6 hour flight away.

  12. Have they ruled out hip dysplasia again because arthroscopy for FAI won't fix that.. and you'd need another op. What kind of impingement do you have?
    Well I went backwards this week and depair at why.. I know I have SOME socket retrovertion, whether it is significant remains unknown until CT I guess.. I also have the other hip to do, but can't muster the energy until my right is RIGHT!! Like you with small kids and funnily enough my hubby works away in Hong Kong a lot.. Where I'm getting to with this is that if my hips need fixing with POA, I definately would rather have THR as can't afford 2 to 4 yrs down time whilst someone else raises my kids, would tear me apart!
    For you if its just FAI, I would try the arthroscopy as long as with a total expert (where are you?) If more complicated well its a big decision, but I know which option would draw me. What kind of FAI is it? Can they see any arthritis as that effects success?

    4 month olds are thankfully light and don't really have minds of their own yet.. but it will get physically much harder.. Are you ok lifting right now? Do you want anymore babies? Where you ok in pregnancy? Can you afford help? Can you time it when your hubby is around for a few or at least 2 months and put your baby into nursery daytime and hubby takes care at night.. It's almost impossibly hard, but it has to be made possible! I completely understand and wrestle with the same for op 2 and just hope its not op 2 and redo of op 1. Sorry so many Q's am just trying to be able to offer you solutions..

    Dear James thanks and what do compression shorts do? Mimic strong muscles? If you're doing ok at 20 wks thats a great sign. Let me know how the water stuff makes you feel after.

  13. FINALLY. You deserve improvement after all that you have endured.

    The bum pain sounds similar to what I had but it was all the time ... piriformis stretches helped and strengthening the gluteus medius. I put some exercises and stretches in a couple of posts on my blog about a month ago -- they helped me -- if you are interested. It went away pretty quickly once I did the exercises.

    Here's to more progress for you! Terri

  14. Thanks Terri. Seen that before on your site, did then this morning as you reminded me I was going to include them. I'll let you know if those targeted ones help.
    Thank you.

  15. for me the compression shorts helps to keep the hip more in place, and i feel less inflamation around and behind the hip when i am standing. it allows me to stretch better and get my weak muscles stronger. once the hip gets iratated, i get lots of SI pain and the glutes shut down. for me it is a work in progress. i learned a lot form your blog.

  16. Thanks James, do you have a web address for these? Are they hideous, though I think I'm past caring!!

  17. Getting better is always a good news no matter what. There's a lot of people getting better after hip surgery. I've been doing a lot myself researching about hip surgery. I'm considering it as the last option to finally get back to where I was.

    Here's a shocking news that I want you to read. It's about asr hip recall.