Femoroacetabular impingement in athletes: current concepts

Am J Sports Med. 2014 Mar;42(3):737-51. doi: 10.1177/0363546513499136. Epub 2013 Aug 27.


Hip disorders are increasingly recognized as a cause of dysfunction and disability among athletes. Femoroacetabular impingement (FAI) is a common source of hip problems. While FAI may sometimes be present as an incidental asymptomatic finding, substantial secondary joint damage may occur. This problem is often observed in young adult, and even adolescent, athletes. FAI morphology results in a breakdown of the labrum and articular surfaces from forces generated during sporting activities that would otherwise be well tolerated by a normal joint. A description of the pathomechanics is included. Detection of pathological FAI is important to minimize its harmful effects. The history, examination findings, and pertinent imaging studies are detailed. Nonoperative measures, including training modifications and pelvic stabilization exercises, may be of some benefit in modulating symptoms. When secondary joint damage has occurred, surgical intervention is usually necessary. While most can be managed with arthroscopic techniques, open and mini-open methods are discussed as well. With proper recognition and treatment, most athletes can expect to return to sports, although the long-term implications of high-level activities must still be considered. These results are summarized.

Keywords: athletes; femoroacetabular impingement; hip arthroscopic surgery.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Athletes*
  • Diagnostic Imaging
  • Femoracetabular Impingement / diagnosis*
  • Femoracetabular Impingement / therapy*
  • Hip Joint / pathology
  • Hip Joint / surgery
  • Humans
  • Medical History Taking
  • Orthopedic Procedures
  • Pelvic Bones / pathology
  • Physical Examination
  • Postoperative Care
  • Tendons / physiopathology