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Labral Tear of the Hip Joint

Labral tearA labral tear of the hip joint is a tear to the cartilage lining of the hip joint called the acetabulum which acts as cushioning for the joint.

Labral tear symptoms

Symptoms of a labral tear include pain in the hip or groin. A clicking or locking of the joint can occur. Stiffness and restricted mobility in the hip joint is likely. Symptoms may come on suddenly following an impact or trauma but can also develop gradually if the joint progressively degenerates.

What is a labral tear?

The socket of the hip joint that the thigh bone sits in is called the acetabulum. This is lined by a ring of cartilage called the labrum. The labrum supplies cushioning and support for the hip joint.

A tear can occur in the labrum and is also known as a hip labral tear or acetabular labral tear. Tears to the labrum are being diagnosed more and more now due to the improvements and wider availability of MRI scans. This is the only way to 100% diagnose a labral tear.

Labral tears of the hip can be caused by trauma such as traffic accidents, collisions and bad falls, falling on to the outside of the hip, twisting on a hip that has a lot of weight on it. Repetitive strain on the hip for example in golfers can also be a factor as can impingement of the labrum in activities such as cycling, horse riding and martial arts.

Treatment of labrum tears

Treatment usually requires surgery known as debridement via an arthroscopy (key-hole surgery). The torn part of the labrum is removed. Generally results from this procedure are very good. A rehabilitation program should be followed after surgery to restore full strength and movement to the hip joint and prevent further injuries or instability. If left the injury could degenerate into a worn hip joint.