Femoroacetabular impingement (FAI) is a morphological hip condition that can lead to hip and/or groin pain in younger active adults. Understanding the nature of physical impairments and activity limitations associated with symptomatic FAI is important to evaluate outcomes and guide development of rehabilitation strategies. The goal of this systematic review was to establish: (1) whether people with symptomatic FAI demonstrate physical impairments and/or activity limitations compared with people without FAI; and (2) whether treatment affects these parameters. 16 studies were included. The most commonly reported physical impairment was decreased range of motion (ROM) into directions of hip joint impingement. Other impairments were altered sagittal and frontal plane hip ROM during gait, altered sagittal plane hip ROM during stair climbing, and reduced hip adductor and flexor muscle strength. Effects of surgery on physical impairments are not consistent but indicate improved hip ROM during gait, but not during stair climbing. Squatting depth improves following surgical intervention for symptomatic FAI.
People with symptomatic FAI exhibit physical impairments and activity limitations. Surgical intervention may restore some deficiencies, but not all. Further studies of physical impairment and activity limitation are necessary to evaluate outcomes from surgical and conservative interventions and to inform rehabilitation programmes.