Hip Labral Tear

The hip is a ball-and-socket joint. The rounded head of the upper femur (thighbone) fits firmly into the socket of the pelvis, and together they make up the hip joint. The socket is lined by a layer of articular cartilage known as the labrum. The labrum aids in stability of the hip joint and acts as a cushion to reduce friction and distribute force evenly. Sometimes different injuries or structural abnormalities can lead to a tear in the labrum.

Causes and Risk Factors

Hip labral tears can be caused by degenerative or traumatic factors. Typically, tears in the labrum are caused by sports or other activities that involve the hip, such as soccer, ballet, football, ice hockey, or golf. Labral tears can also be associated with other conditions of the hip such as hip dysplasia or hip impingement.

Symptoms

  • Occasional sharp pain in the hip or groin area
  • Stiffness and/or limited range of motion of the hip
  • A locking, clicking, or catching sensation in the hip joint
  • Pain with certain movements such as getting into or out of the car
  • Sometimes patients experience no pain or symptoms while at rest

Treatment

Treatment for a labral tear depends on the severity of your symptoms. Many people will recover fully with conservative treatment, while some cases may require surgery. Nonsurgical treatment options include:

  • Anti-inflammatory medications to relieve pain and control swelling
  • Physical therapy exercises to help with strength, stability, and range of motion
  • Rest from activities causing symptoms

Generally, if conservative treatment does not relieve symptoms within 3-6 months, surgery may be recommended. If the labrum does not heal on its own, a minimally invasive surgery is usually performed arthroscopically to repair or remove damaged tissue.