Send to

Choose Destination
Am J Sports Med. 2018 Dec;46(14):3415-3422. doi: 10.1177/0363546518804805. Epub 2018 Nov 6.

Nonoperative Management of Femoroacetabular Impingement: A Prospective Study.

Author information

Rady Children's Hospital, San Diego, California, USA.
360 Sports Medicine, San Diego, California, USA.
University of California, San Diego, California, USA.



The literature has given little attention to the nonoperative management of femoroacetabular impingement (FAI) syndrome despite a rapidly expanding body of research on the topic.


To perform a prospective study utilizing a nonoperative protocol on a consecutive series of patients presenting to our clinic with FAI syndrome.


Cohort study; Level of evidence, 2.


Between 2013 and 2016, patients meeting the following criteria were prospectively recruited in a nonoperative FAI study: no prior hip surgery, groin-based pain, a positive impingement test, and radiographic FAI syndrome. The protocol consisted of an initial trial of rest, physical therapy, and activity modification. Patients who remained symptomatic were then offered an image-guided intra-articular steroid injection. Patients with recurrent symptoms were then offered arthroscopic treatment. Outcome scores were collected at 12 and 24 months. Statistical analysis was performed to identify risk factors for the need for operative treatment and to determine patient outcomes based on FAI type and treatment.


Ninety-three hips (n = 76 patients: mean age, 15.3 years; range, 10.4-21.4 years) were included in this study and followed for a mean ± SD 26.8 ± 8.3 months. Sixty-five hips (70%) were managed with physical therapy, rest, and activity modification alone. Eleven hips (12%) required a steroid injection but did not progress to surgery. Seventeen hips (18%) required arthroscopic management. All 3 groups saw similar improvements in modified Harris Hip Score ( P = .961) and nonarthritic hip score ( P = .975) with mean improvements of 20.3 ± 16.8 and 13.2 ± 15.5, respectively. Hips with cam impingement and combined cam-pincer impingement were 4.0 times more likely to meet the minimal clinically important difference in modified Harris Hip Score ( P = .004) and 4.4 times more likely to receive surgical intervention ( P = .05) than patients with pincer deformities alone. Participants in team sports were 3.0 times more likely than individual sport athletes to return to competitive activities ( P = .045).


A majority (82%) of adolescent patients presenting with FAI syndrome can be managed nonoperatively, with significant improvements in outcome scores at a mean follow-up of 2 years.


A nonoperative approach should be the first-line treatment for young active patients with symptomatic FAI syndrome.


femoroacetabular impingement (FAI) syndrome; hip pain; labral tear; nonoperative treatment

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Atypon
Loading ...
Support Center