Special tests for FAI - the truth about FADIR and FABER and other hip impingement tests

If you have hip pain, and you've been told you have femoroacetabular impingement (FAI), you may have had a series of movement tests (called "special tests" in medical jargon) done to confirm your diagnosis.

If you have hip pain and are wondering if there are good tests for femoroacetabular impingement that will tell you if you have FAI, you may found a number of common tests that are believed to be reliable.

In either case, this article is going to cover something medical literature on FAI overlooks: the tests for hip pain causes are wildly unreliable.


What are special tests for femoroacetabular impingement?

A special test for FAI is simply a movement that doctors believe demonstrates that hip bone shape is responsible for your...

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Diagnostic injections and femoroacetabular impingement

If you suspect you have hip pain from femoroacetabular impingement, you may be considering a hip injection. 

I've been doing a lot of research on FAI as part of my duties as one of the co-creators of the FAI Fix. In a recent YouTube comment, an orthopedic physician angrily pointed out that hip joint injections supposedly identify whether hip pain is caused by problems IN the hip joint, like FAI. 

I found his comment interesting, so I did more research on hip injections for FAI. I am going to share some of the results of this research here.


Hip injections for FAI - is the pain caused by what's in the joint?

I started going through the available medical literature on femoroacetabular impingement...

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Can miserable malalignment be fixed quickly?

If you've never heard of the medical diagnosis "miserable malalignment" it's because it hasn't been discussed much until recently. The first time I heard about it was from a client. She was a physical therapist who had been diagnosed with the condition.

femoral internal rotationThe right leg (left in the picture) has relatively internally rotated femur and externally rotated tibia.

Why is it en vogue now? Because a growing number of surgeons are starting to talk about the surgery as a surefire cure for knee, leg, and hip pain. 

But as we've seen with spine, hip, knee, and shoulder surgeries, the medical industry has a long history of overselling the benefits of new orthopedic surgeries.

So in this article, we're going to take a closer non-medical look...

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How do you fix a leg length discrepancy?

In this article we're going to talk about what to do in case you have a leg length discrepancy. You may have been told by a chiropractor or a massage therapist that one of your legs is longer than the other. Maybe you've noticed one leg seems to reach out further than the other when you walk and so you suspect a difference.

What should you do about it? How do you think about a leg length discrepancy in a way that will help you make as much progress with your body on your own?  


Why you might care about leg length

If your legs are of different lengths, you'll be literally off-kilter. When standing, one half of your pelvis will sit higher than the other and will likely be tilted anteriorly or posteriorly...

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Are hip injections 90% reliable for finding the cause of hip pain?

Why am I talking about hip injections?

In a previous post, I shared an orthopedic physician's objections to what we've been talking about with FAI, and in a follow up I talked about hip injections and their reliability and usefulness (spoiler: they don't seem reliable or particularly useful). In case you missed the original YouTube comment from the orthopedic physician, here's a relevant snippet:


Since your [sic] so knowledgeable of the hip joint anatomy I hope you would agree that using a [sic] anesthetic agent and steroid agent to inject into the hip joint would sufficiently rule in or rule out the diagnosis of labral pathology or intra-articular pathology. Guess what? We do it all the time. How could it be...
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Hip labral tears: what you need to know and what your doctor won’t tell you

Why are hip labral tears important to talk about?

Hip pain is becoming an extremely common complaint in this age of desk work and constant sitting. It’s also becoming very common for people to get the diagnosis of a hip labral tear. So, what does it mean to tell people they have hip labral tears? In this article, we’re going to look very deeply at the research around hip pain, labral tears, and surgery for labral tears.

client stretching his hips and shoulders


Hip labral tears in a training context

We work with a lot of clients with hip issues in our training facility. From the very beginning, we’ve worked very hard to understand the myths and facts around hip pain and hip labral tears and other hip joint pathologies. We always want to make sure...

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What do you need to do to fix anterior tilt?

As personal trainers, we see anterior pelvic tilt a lot. As a result of our YouTube videos on different approaches and techniques relevant to training, we get a lot of questions about what’s really necessary to get stronger, fitter, and more mobile when you have anterior pelvic tilt. 

One of the big questions we get is about squatting and deadlifting and how they relate to anterior tilt. Specifically, people want to know whether squatting and deadlifting are actually necessary components of fixing anterior tilt!


What do squatting and deadlifting have to do with anterior tilt?

For people with anterior pelvic tilt, exercise selection is really important. If you do the wrong exercises, you can easily make...

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How to get rid of pain in the TFL (tensor fascia lata)

Do you feel an achy, dull, annoying pain in the side of your hip that’s been there for months or even years? Does it seem to get worse after any type of dynamic physical activity or any prolonged period of sitting?

It’s possible that this discomfort is due to a shortened and dysfunctional tensor fascia latae muscle, or “TFL” for short. I’ve experienced this discomfort myself so I know exactly how much of a pain in the [TFL] it can be!

In this article, we’re going to explain why your tensor fascia lata might be dysfunctional and then present a step-by-step training protocol that can help you reduce your TFL pain.


maks had a tight tflYou'll smile like this too when your TFL feels better.

My TFL Story


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How do you relax tight muscles? What to do when you’re stuck and stiff.

 We’ve all been there. Your muscles feel tight and locked up, perhaps after a hard workout or a stressful week at work. You’ve had massages, done your stretching routine from top to bottom, but after a short period of relief, it comes back again. 

The common treatment for tight muscles consists of massage, stretching, rest, or ice/heat. Those approaches, however, don’t always work. So what do you do when muscle tightness keeps coming back?


How to fix tight muscles: Overview

This video is an overview of muscles tightness. I encourage you to watch the video AND read this blog post for a deeper understanding of fixing tight muscles.


Why do muscles feel tight?

“Tightness” itself can...

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How to sleep with anterior pelvic tilt

How should you sleep if you have an anterior pelvic tilt? If you sleep in the wrong position, will it make your tilt worse? If you sleep in a good position, will it make it better?

If you have an anterior pelvic tilt we have some great information for you, including  how to sleep to improve your alignment, and a video to help you understand the best position for your pelvis at night.

 woman showing anterior pelvic tilt

What is anterior pelvic tilt?

An anterior tilt is when the front of your pelvis is tipped towards the floor. It's not a terrible orthopedic condition. It just means certain muscles are positioning your pelvis so that the front end is lower than ideal.

However, this position creates an arch in your lower back that is not ideal...

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