The hip labrum is a ring of cartilage that runs along the outside rim of your hip joint. Along with cushioning the hip joint, the labrum acts like a rubber seal or gasket to help hold the ball at the top of your thighbone securely within your hip socket.
What is a Hip Labral Tear?
The labrum is a rubbery cartilage layer that forms a seal around the rim of the hip socket. Tears of the labrum most commonly occur due to femoroacetabular impingement (FAI) where there is extra bone around the rim of the hip socket or on the front of the femur. Tears may also occur due to hip dysplasia (an underdeveloped hip joint) or from falls and sporting activity. Tears are more likely in those who have hypermobile joints.
What are the symptoms of a Hip Labral Tear?
Symptomatic FAI, hip dysplasia and labral tears may cause pain in the groin. You may notice a clicking sensation or a feeling like the hip coming out of the joint. Additionally, some patients with a hip labral tear may notice pain in the buttocks region or a feeling of unsteadiness on their feet. Pain may be worse when moving the hip, during sport for example.
How is a Hip Labral Tear diagnosed?
MRI scans are the imaging test that shows labral tears. However, labral tears identified on MRI scans do not always cause symptoms, therefore a careful discussion and examination with a specialist is necessary to make sure the diagnosis is correct. A set of hip x-rays and sometimes a CT scan is needed to help identify underlying causes for labral tears. In addition, a physical exam that explores your movement, your hip and any pain perception is helpful.
How is a Hip Labral Tear treated?
In many cases, a course of physiotherapy can help to alleviate the symptoms. In addition, conservative treatments may including oral anti-inflammatories or steroid injections. However, if the symptoms persist then keyhole surgery (hip arthroscopy) can be used to repair or smooth off the damaged labrum and remove any extra bone. This surgery is often the most effective course of action for some patients who are suffering significant pain or immobility due to their hip labral tear.
What is the outlook following treatment for a Hip Labral Tear?
Conservative treatments do not always fully solve the problem but are often effective in restoring movement and reducing pain. Your consultant will explain the best course of treatment and expected outcomes specific to your injury or concern. Where surgery is recommended patients can often return to full mobility within 6 months, including high impact sports.
If you or someone you know has suffered an injury or is experiencing pain in their hip or difficulty with mobility and would like a consultant-led review, please contact us. Grosvenor Orthopaedics have extensive experience in the treatment of hip labral tears with excellent patient outcomes.