What is a labral tear of the hip?
The hip joint normally functions like a ball in a socket. The ball is the head of the femur (the long bone of the leg) and the hip socket is called the acetabulum. The hip socket (acetabulum) is covered by smooth soft tissue, called the labrum, which cushions the hip bones and allows them to move freely against each other. It also acts as a seal to keep the ball in the socket. An injury or tear to the labrum disrupts its normal function, leading to hip pain and stiffness.
What causes a labral tear of the hip?
Labral tears can be a result of underlying problems, or they may occur on their own. Causes of a labral tear include:
- Structural problems in the hip joint, such as hip dysplasia or femoroacetabular impingement
- Degenerative conditions, such as hip arthritis
- Injury to the hip, commonly when playing sports.
How is a labral tear of the hip diagnosed?
Your specialist will ask you some questions to see if you have the common symptoms of a labral tear. These include pain in the groin and hip, that gets worse with exercise or sitting down for long periods, stiffness on movement, and feeling like your hip joint is unstable. You may also notice that your hip locks or clicks when it moves. The specialist will also perform a careful assessment of your hip joint to examine its range of movement, your walking, and to see which movements cause pain. Imaging tests such as x-ray, CT or MRI scans can also be useful to diagnose a labral tear.
Treatment and recovery
Minor hip labral tears can be treated with non-surgical measures. This will be a combination of rest, anti-inflammatory medicines, and physiotherapy aiming to restore the range of movement in your hip and strengthen the supporting muscles. Stem cell implants can also be used to help a labral tear heal.
If your symptoms are more severe, surgery may be needed to restore the function in your hip. Keyhole surgery with a small camera, known as arthroscopy, can be used to assess the joint, and repair or remove any damaged tissue. We aim to help you fully recover by around 6-12 weeks after the procedure, so that you can get back to enjoying your everyday life.
For more information or to book an appointment, please contact us.