What is a Hip Labral Tear?
The hip is a ball-and-socket joint. The socket is called the acetabulum, which is part of the large pelvis bone, and the ball is the femoral head, located at the top of the femur (thighbone). A hip labral tear is an injury to the labrum, the soft tissue that covers the acetabulum. The labrum helps the femoral head move smoothly within the socket and also serves as a seal, keeping the ball and socket together but not touching.
Causes of Hip Labral Tears
Hip labral tears can be caused by many different things, including the following:
- Trauma, injury to or dislocation of the hip joint
- Structural ailments, such as femoroacetabular impingement (FAI)
- Repetitive motions, sports-related and other physical activities
- Degenerative health conditions, including osteoarthritis
Symptoms of Hip Labral Tears
The symptoms of a hip labral tear include:
- A locking or clicking sound in the hip
- Pain in the groin or buttocks area
- Stiffness in the hip
- Decreased range of motion
If you have a hip labral tear, hip pain or discomfort may get worse when you bend, move or rotate the hip, or exercise or play sports. It is also possible to have a hip labral tear with no symptoms at all.
How is a Hip Labral Tear Diagnosed?
To diagnose a hip labral tear, your Raleigh Orthopaedic physician will perform a physical examination and ask you about your symptoms. You will also be asked to move your leg and walk around. How well you move and any pain you feel while moving can help provide an accurate diagnosis. Imaging tests, such as X-rays and MRIs, may be ordered as they can help diagnose a hip labral tear.
Treatment for Hip Labral Tears
Treatment for labral tears of the hip depends on the severity of your symptoms. Some people recover with conservative treatment in a few weeks while others need arthroscopic surgery to repair or remove the torn part of the labrum.
A hip labral tear will not heal on its own, but rest and other conservative measures can help manage symptoms of a minor tear. Nonsurgical treatments include:
- Anti-inflammatory medication – Medications such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatories such as ibuprofen and naproxen can reduce pain and inflammation
- Steroid injections – Injection of a corticosteroid along with a local anesthetic may relieve symptoms temporarily or permanently in the hip joint. If pain returns, another injection may be needed.
- Physical therapy – Specific exercises can help to stretch and strengthen the surrounding muscles
If you are experiencing deep pain in your hip area that is not improving with rest, lasting more than two weeks, and interfering with your normal activities, consult with your Raleigh Orthopaedic physician for further guidance.
Surgery – Arthroscopy
Surgery to repair a hip labral tear is done arthroscopically. During this minimally-invasive procedure, a series of small incisions are made around the hip joint. Your Raleigh Orthopaedic surgeon will use an arthroscope, a thin, lighted tube-shaped instrument with a camera attached, for visual access to the joint. Then, all frayed or damaged portions of the labrum are repaired. Arthroscopic surgery is often done on an outpatient basis, so the patient goes home the same day. Scarring and recovery time are typically shorter for this procedure than open surgery.
Comprehensive Labral Tear Treatment at Raleigh Orthopaedic Clinic
At Raleigh Orthopaedic, our team is committed to providing the highest quality care for patients with a variety of orthopedic conditions, including labral tears of the hip. While hip and joint pain usually isn’t life threatening, it can significantly affect your daily life. After evaluating your symptoms, we will create a personalized treatment plan based on your needs to ensure a safe and effective recovery. To schedule an appointment at one of our convenient clinic locations across Wake County, please contact us today.