Hip Labral Tear
Article by Shane Armfield
What is a Hip Labral Tear?
The hip or acetabular labrum is a ridge of cartilage that runs around the rim of your hip joint socket. Its purpose is to make the hip socket deeper and more stable. The labrum can be torn from its attachment and cause pain, clicking or catching.
What Causes of a Hip Labral Tear?
The labrum can tear for many reasons. Some people tear their labrum from falls or sporting injuries when your hip is forced into extreme positions. It can also be damaged by repetitive trauma in sports that require regular rotation of the hip -- like golf, soccer, hockey, and ballet.
Studies show that up to 22% of athletes who complain of groin pain have a labral tear in the hip. However, almost 75% of cases of torn acetabular labrum have no known direct cause.
What are the Symptoms of a Labral Tear?
Some people experience no pain from a labral tear but most will feel pain or ache in their groin, over the lateral hip, or deep in their buttock region. Acetabular labral tears often cause a feeling of the leg "catching" or "clicking" in the hip socket as you move it. It may also feel like the hip is locking up. Some people get a feeling of giving way within the hip.
How is a Labral Tear Diagnosed?
Labral tears are diagnosed with a combination of symptoms, clinical signs for example restricted range of movement. It is difficult to get a specific diagnosis without a MRI or MRA (a special MRI looking at joints and requiring an injection into the joint) or by arthroscopic hip surgery.
How is a Labral Tear Treated?
Phase I - Reduce Pain & Protect Your Labrum
In most cases, you need to start treating your labral injury straight away by resting your hip and avoiding those aggravating activities.
You should avoid sitting:
You should also avoid extending your hip excessively.
Phase II - Restore Flexibility & Strength
Phase III - Return to Activity or Sport
Hip Surgery for Labral Tears
A percentage of hip labral tears will require surgery to stop the pain and clicking. The procedure should also improve the hip joint integrity, which should reduce the future degeneration associated with labral tears.
Surgery involves re-attaching the labrum and occasionally debriding (taking away the torn section) of the labrum. You will require post-operative hip rehabilitation under the guidance of your physiotherapist and surgeon to facilitate your safe return to sport.
If you have any concerns please seek the advice of your physiotherapist or doctor.
Hip Joint Pain
Lateral Hip Pain
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