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Hip issue common in teens | Corewell Health

Hip issue common in teens | Corewell Health
Symptoms of FAI can include pain, clicking, popping or catching. (For Corewell Health Beat)

Is your teenager complaining about hip pain?

It could be an ailment called femoral acetabular impingement.

Unless you’ve had a child suffer from it, you probably haven’t heard of it, let alone know what it is.

With femoral acetabular impingement, also known as hip impingement or FAI, the hip forms extra bone, either on the cup side or ball and socket, or both, Travis Menge, MD, a Corewell Health orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine specialist, said.

“It’s very common,” Dr. Menge said. “It’s more common in teenagers that are involved in athletics and sports but any teenager could have this develop.”

Affects growing teens

In young, still growing athletes, the additional bone eventually impinges upon the hip while running, jumping, bending, squatting or doing any type of strenuous activity.

Typically, he said, it is seen during the mid- to late- teenage years, as well as in young adults.

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

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

Start with conservative treatment

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

The bone excess develops gradually and the symptoms can vary. Pain may come from playing a sport or from simple daily activities.

Symptoms include hip catching, clicking or popping.

Dr. Menge said the pain is treated conservatively–at first. Physical therapy may be prescribed as well as over the counter anti-inflammatory medicines and possibly injections.

Surgery becomes an option if these efforts don’t work and the symptoms persist.

If the symptoms are interfering with sporting activities or daily life, then surgery often is recommended, he said.

“The good news is with recent technology and advances, we’re able to perform the surgery that is minimally invasive,” Dr. Menge said. “We go in arthroscopically and repair the damage, using state of the art technology.”

Usually, patients after surgery are cured and can go back to all of their activities pain free, including sports, he said. But that’s after a recovery period of about three to four months.

During that time, efforts to build up muscle strength and endurance usually involve physical therapy.

Physicians typically recommend abstaining from athletics until completely recovered.

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

Prevent future issues

He said it’s wise to address the problem initially because. left untreated, it could lead to early arthritis in the hips and call for hip replacement at an earlier age.

“It’s a common thing in adolescents and young adults and we have the knowledge and training to adequately take care of it,” Dr. Menge said. “With the appropriate treatment, we are able to successfully get patients back to sports and all the activities they enjoy.”