Hip Labral Tear
The hip labrum is a ring of cartilage that lines the outside of the joint socket. This important piece of cartilage helps to cushion the hip joint, while also securing the thigh bone in the socket. Sometimes, either through direct trauma or repetitive external rotations, the acetabular labrum can tear, causing pain in the groin or the anterior hip.
A labrum that is torn, frayed, or otherwise damaged is classified as a labral tear. Each person’s hip labrum varies in its thickness and shape, but all serve the same purpose. In addition to providing joint stability, the labrum absorbs shock and distributes pressure, and helps lubricate the joint for more fluid movements. It plays a major role in healthy movements, especially for active athletes.
Our patients with labral tears are often athletes in sports like soccer, hockey, running, or ballet. All of these activities require regular external rotation and hyperextension of the hip, which is one of the main causes of this injury. Direct trauma — as from an automobile accident or a fall — can also be the source of a labral tear. However, since MOTUS specializes in sports injuries, we often treat labral tears that are the direct result of an athlete’s performance.
Hip labral tears don’t discriminate by age or gender. The condition is just as likely in any patient. When someone presents with a labral tear, we tend to notice a number of mechanical symptoms, like a clicking sound, a catching, or a locking of the hip.
Patients also report continuous dull hip pain, punctuated by moments of sharp pain that gets worse with activity. Symptoms usually worsen with impact, pivoting, walking, or sitting for long periods of time. The symptoms from a labral tear often last over two years.
After a thorough differential diagnosis to rule out all other possible causes of pain, we can start treatment on the labral tear. In many cases, this will involve a program of stretching and strengthening exercises that will help provide support and protection for the hip. We also need to ensure that the rest of the body is moving properly for optimum protection.
If you’re experiencing pain in your hip from a labral tear, chances are that this injury is related to other joints as well. At MOTUS, we look at the body as a functional unit where one piece affects every other piece. Sometimes a hip labral tear occurs because of improper motion in the back or legs. Your treatment plan will involve a full-body evaluation so that we can find the source of the problem and help you protect your hip from further irritation moving forward.