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By working together as a team, we are able to develop a comprehensive approach to patient diagnosis and individualized treatment plans.

Our hip specialists, treating femoroacetabular impingement (FAI) and other hip disorders, offer a broad range of options for our patients. Families will appreciate the convenience and expertise of an entire collaborative team all under one roof – from surgery and physical therapy to radiology and anesthesiology.

Defining Femoroacetabular Impingement

If your child is suffering from hip pain, it may be the result of a disorder of the hip joint called femoroacetabular impingement. A normally developed hip joint consists of the end of the thighbone (called the femoral head) that is shaped as a ball, and the socket (also referred to as the acetabulum). FAI is the abnormal contact, or impingement, between the end of the thighbone and the hip socket.

This condition can limit motion and cause hip pain. When the thighbone and hip socket bump against each other, the repeated rubbing can cause the cartilage that surrounds the hip socket to fray or tear. This can lead to pain, labral tears, and potentially arthritis. Pain is commonly described in the groin or the front of the hip.

How do I Help My Child with FAI?

Your child will benefit from an orthopedic hip specialist with experience treating FAI. A full team of providers will help your child from diagnosis to treatment to monitoring throughout their childhood.

Visit the Shriners Children’s near you for a physical examination on the affected hip, x-rays, diagnosis and a customized treatment plan that is right for your child.

Specific treatments and services may vary by location. Please contact a specific location for more information.

It is a place I care about and is close to my heart. I got the help I needed for my hips here.
Kallianne, Salt Lake City

How Can I Tell if My Child has FAI?

Your child may have pain in the groin or hip area that gets worse during activities, or when sitting long periods, such as at school. Other things to look for are difficulty flexing the hip and popping or clicking of the hip.

Treatment for FAI

Each child deserves an individualized treatment plan that utilizes the most advanced and innovative techniques. We believe early detection and treatment is important. Your Shriners Children's physician will always recommend the least invasive treatment that will achieve the best outcome. 

Non-surgical Options

Not all patients with FAI need surgery. We will often first recommend changing activities, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) and physical therapy. Injections with numbing medicine and cortisone into the hip joint may also be recommended to help with the diagnosis and treat the pain. Learn about how physical therapy helped Starlit.

Surgical Options

If rest and therapy don't remove your child's pain, we will walk you through surgical options. The goal of surgery is to correct the ball and socket of the hip joint to decrease the bone impingement and prevent further damage to the cartilage. The most common procedures are arthroscopy or open reconstruction of the ball and socket.

Risk Factors

Risk factors for developing FAI:

  • Result of Legg-Calvé-Perthes altering the shape of the ball and socket of the hip joint
  • Result of slipped capital femoral epiphysis altering the shape of the ball and socket of the hip joint
  • Activities involving repetitive motion of the hip (running, weight lifting, ice skating)
  • Activities involving extreme movement of the hip (dance, gymnastics)
  • Trauma to the hip

Innovative Treatments

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Physical Therapy

Physical therapy at Shriners Children's helps children build confidence and strength, focusing on what is important to them and what they love to do in their daily lives.

Arthroscopic Surgery

Arthroscopic surgery, also known as arthroscopy, is a procedure used to diagnose and treat joint conditions. Shriners Children's pediatric orthopedic surgeons treat a variety of conditions with this minimally invasive surgery option.

Orthopedic Surgery

With their expertise in treating children from toddlers to teens, the pediatric orthopedic surgeons at Shriners Children’s understand the challenges of planning ahead for growing bones and bodies.

Next Steps

Request an Appointment

Families and caregivers seeking treatment should start by contacting us for an appointment.

Log in to the Patient Portal

Parents and guardians of existing patients can email, request records, schedule appointments and more.

Refer a Patient

Physicians and healthcare providers can request appointments, start transfers or contact us with questions.