What is a hip labral tear?
The hip labrum is a strong piece of cartilage that lines the rim of your hip socket, also known as the acetabulum. This piece of cartilage acts as padding for the hip joint and helps the head of your thighbone firmly fit into the hip socket. A tear in the hip labrum is referred to as a hip labral tear or an acetabular labral tear.
What causes a hip labral tear?
A hip labral tear can occur gradually over time with age, meaning it is degenerative, or a labral tear can occur as a result of injury or trauma. Athletes who play high-impact sports, such as football, soccer, and hockey, are more likely to sustain trauma to their labrum. Causes of a hip labral tear may include:
- Direct injury — falling, sports collisions, or other contact-related accidents can cause the labrum to tear.
- Non-contact injury — certain maneuvers and activities that require routine hip rotation and twisting can put ongoing stress on and wear down the hip joint, which may eventually result in a labral tear of the hip.
- Structural abnormalities — hip problems and abnormalities, such as hip dysplasia, can cause increased joint deterioration, which can lead to hip labral tears.
- Aging — as you age the body experiences natural wear and tear of bones and cartilage. With time small repeating injuries can cause the labrum to gradually tear. This is known as degenerative tearing. Labral tears are often associated with arthritis.
What are the symptoms of a hip labral tear?
Symptoms of a hip labral tear will vary from person to person. While some people may not experience any symptoms, other may notice certain signs and symptoms, including:
- Pain in the buttock or groin area during certain hip movements
- Pain when getting up or sitting down
- Feeling a “clicking” sensation in your hip joint
- Feeling as though your hip is “locking up”
- Pain while at rest
How can I tell if I have torn my labrum?
If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms or believe you have a torn hip labrum, an evaluation by an experienced medical professional can help determine the cause of your symptoms. To help diagnose a labral tear, your doctor will begin by going over your medical history and symptoms. Next, your doctor will perform a physical exam, moving your leg and hip joint in various positions to help assess your mobility, strength, and degree of pain.
To ensure that your symptoms are not the result of similar conditions and to determine the level of damage, your doctor may perform additional testing. Additional testing may include X-rays, MRIs, and other imaging tests to help identify additional injury or structural abnormalities.
How is a torn labrum treated?
If you are suffering from a torn hip labrum and are seeking pain relief, there are surgical and nonsurgical treatment options available. Based on various factors, such as the type of tear, your activity level, and symptoms, treatment will vary.
Here at our practice, whenever possible, we aim to first recommend nonsurgical treatments to help restore mobility, alleviate pain, and prevent the progression of damage. Nonsurgical treatment may include:
- Resting and avoiding activities that induce hip pain
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to bring down swelling and pain
- Physical therapy and exercise to improve joint mobility, strength, and stability
- Steroid injections to help alleviate pain
When nonsurgical treatment options are ineffective, we specialize in and offer surgical treatment options such as arthroscopy to help provide pain relief and repair and restore hip function. Platelet-rich plasma therapy may also be used to help promote healing, alleviate pain, and enhance recovery time.
If you are experiencing symptoms of a labral tear, a consultation with an orthopedic specialist may be the first step towards diagnosis, treatment, and recovery. Dr. Burrus is an experienced fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeon who is dedicated to providing high-quality, specialized holistic care. Call 512.477.6341 or fill out the form on this page to schedule an appointment.