A common hip problem in teenagers Corewell Health

Symptoms of FAI may include pain, squeezing, popping, or catching. (for Corewell Health Beat)

Is your teen complaining of hip pain?

It could be a condition called acetabular impingement of the hip.

If you haven’t had a child with it, you probably haven’t heard of it, let alone know what it is.

With femoral acetabular impingement, also known as femoral impingement, or FAI, the hip develops extra bone, either next to the cup, the ball and socket, or both, says Corewell Health orthopedic and sports medicine specialist Dr. Travis Menge.

“It’s very common,” Dr. Menge said. “It’s more common in teenagers who play athletics and sports, but any teen can develop it.”

Affects growing teenagers

In young, still-growing athletes, the extra bone eventually impinges on the hip when running, jumping, bending, squatting, or doing any type of strenuous activity.

It’s usually seen in the mid- to late-teens, he said, as well as in young adults.

Hereditary predisposition, activity, or a combination of both can cause acetabular impingement of the hip. Dr. Menge said

Dr. Menge said there is no DNA test that can determine whether a young person will inherit the disease, but if a parent had it, it is likely to be at least part of the cause of the child’s disease.

Start with conservative treatment

Young people won’t know they have a femoral acetabular impingement until they start experiencing pain, he said.

Bone loss develops gradually and symptoms can vary. Pain can occur from playing sports or simple daily activities.

Symptoms include hip grasping, clenching, or jumping.

Dr. Menge said pain is initially treated conservatively. Physical therapy may be prescribed, as well as over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications and possibly injections.

Surgery becomes an option if these efforts do not work and symptoms persist.

If symptoms interfere with sports activities or daily life, surgery is often recommended, he said.

“The good news is with the latest technology and advancements, we are able to perform minimally invasive surgery,” said Dr. Menge. “We go in arthroscopically and repair the damage using the latest technology.”

Typically, patients heal well after surgery and can return to all their activities without pain, including sports, he said. But that’s after a recovery period of about three to four months.

In the meantime, efforts to increase muscle strength and endurance usually include physical therapy.

Doctors usually recommend that you refrain from athletics until you have fully recovered.

Femoral acetabular impingement is becoming more common because teenagers and young adults are more active these days, says Dr. Menge.

Prevent future problems

He said that it is wise to address the problem from the beginning because. If left untreated, it can lead to early arthritis of the hips and require hip replacement at an earlier age.

“It’s common in teenagers and young adults, and we have the knowledge and training to take care of it properly,” Dr. Menge said. “With appropriate treatment, we can successfully return patients to sports and all the activities they enjoy.”

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