Labral Tears of the Hip

Overcoming Discomfort: Effective Strategies for Hip Labral Tears

Labral tears of the hip are injuries to the ring of cartilage, known as the labrum, that surrounds the outside rim of the hip joint socket. This cartilage is crucial because it acts like a gasket or seal, helping to hold the ball at the top of your thigh bone securely within your hip socket. The labrum also acts as a shock absorber, lubricates the joint, and distributes pressure evenly when you move.

Labral tears can occur from a variety of causes, including sports-related injuries, structural abnormalities of the hip, and wear and tear over time. Athletes who engage in sports requiring repetitive twisting or pivoting movements, like soccer, football, golf, and ballet, are particularly susceptible to labral tears. However, non-athletes can also suffer from this condition, especially if they have hip abnormalities that put extra stress on the labrum.

Symptoms of a labral tear include a sharp, often catching pain in the hip or groin, stiffness, and limited range of motion in the hip joint. Some people may also hear a clicking or locking sound when they move their hip.

We Can Help

Diagnosing a labral tear involves a combination of physical exams, where a doctor may move your leg into various positions to check for pain or discomfort, and imaging tests like MRI scans, which can provide detailed images of soft tissues like the labrum.

Treatment for labral tears varies depending on the severity of the tear and the individual’s level of activity. For some, rest and physical therapy exercises that strengthen the muscles around the hip and improve flexibility may alleviate symptoms. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can also help manage pain. In cases where conservative treatments don’t provide relief, or if the tear is severe, arthroscopic surgery may be recommended to repair or trim the torn part of the labrum.

With proper treatment, most people with labral tears can return to their previous levels of activity without lasting hip joint problems.