Running and FAI

I was diagnosed by x-ray about two months ago with mixed FAI (femoral acetabular impingement) in my right hip, along with slight hip dysplasia (too deep). I've always had funky hips, but the pain didn't start until after my early twenties, and didn't become intense or long lasting until the last year or so.
I started running about two years ago, usually short distances, but it was my first 6 mile run that really spiked up my issues. I felt the grinding start about 4.5 miles, and pushed through it. I couldn't walk without a limp for weeks. That was the point where I made an appointment to have things checked out. I've cut back on my running, and stop immediately when I feel the grind start up, which is typically 20 minutes in, a disappointingly short time.

I had to wait a month and a half to see my hip specialist, and being unsure of what was causing the issue I rested until the appointment, so I wasn't in pain when I went in. My doctor told me that I would need surgery, but I could hold off until I decided the pain was constant enough. He told me I was okay to run, but to limit my distances and to cross train.

So my question is this: If I'm dealing with pain on a daily basis (not all of the time, mind you, but towards the end of every night, especially if I've been working[food server]), what are the chances that I'm doing lasting damage by continuing my short runs? I really want to complete at least one 5k before I have surgery, since I'm not sure I'll be allowed to afterwards, but I don't want to increase the damage already done.


  • rduhlir
    rduhlir Posts: 3,550 Member
    I would think this is a question that you should ask your doctor, rather than us here on MFP.

    That being said, I would think it really depends on how hard you are pushing it (i.e. how fast you are running, how much, and terrain). Obviously if your doctor said it was okay to run but to cut distance then 5Ks would be the picture here. But, I would use the 5Ks for more of a social aspect in that case, and not seriously compete (assuming you do). Stretching extremely well after your runs and using a foam roller to work your hip flexors will help.

    Has your doctor set you up with a sports medicine clinic yet? They will be the ones that will help keep you on your feet running while managing the pain. I would ask around your running stores and the running clubs in your area to see if anyone knows of a good sports medicine doc that has worked with runners before. The doctors who work with runners (or are runners themselves) will understand the "We love the pain" attitude with runners and will work with you around your races.
  • PlunderBunneh
    PlunderBunneh Posts: 1,705 Member
    Unfortunately, getting an appointment to see the doc runs me about a month, so while I do plan on seeing him again soon, it wasn't until I was reading up on some articles earlier this morning that I became concerned about arthritis from the bones rubbing, causing more permanent damage. I know this is the internet, and I can't be confident in any answer given, but recommendations and advice are helpful until I can get in for a professional opinion. Should have added that to the OP.

    I'm not pushing much. I run slowly, at my comfort level, usually outdoors but not rough terrain. I stop when it hurts, but I'm concerned it's doing damage even before I register the pain. FAI causes bone spurs, which then rub against the hip socket. It can cause ligament damage, so the stretching does help. I haven't tried a foam roller, but I will, thank you.

    I haven't done a sports medicine clinic. I didn't think this was the sort of situation that could be helped by it, but I'll see what my doctor's office offers and if that's something that would help. My biggest concern right now is that by embracing the "We love the pain" attitude, I would be causing degeneration within my hip socket, which would take me out of the running game permanently. Just curious is anyone else has been through this, and knew at one point am I pushing too hard. Is it doing damage before it hurts?