Medically Reviewed by Dr. David Crawford
Hip Labral Tear Diagnosis, Treatment, and Recovery
A hip labral tear is a common condition that can be very painful and lead to difficulty with activities such as walking, running, and normal daily functioning. Hip labral tears are a common source of pain and decreased function in athletes, especially those who engage in activities that require repetitive hip rotation, such as basketball, soccer, and football, and athletes with hip dysplasia.
With the proper care and advice, patients with this condition can return to their prior level of activity.
If you are experiencing hip pain and would like to know if you have a hip labral tear, then schedule a consultation with one of our orthopedic specialists at JIS Orthopedics. Our expert healthcare professionals will be able to offer an accurate diagnosis and a tailor-made treatment plan to help restore the function of your hip.
We are the midwest’s premier clinical orthopedic destination, with locations in New Albany, Athens, and St. Clairsville, OH. Call us today to schedule an appointment!
What Is a Hip Labral Tear?
A hip labral tear occurs when the hip labrum (also known as the acetabular labrum), which is the cartilage ring that lines the hip joint socket, becomes torn or frayed. The hip labrum is a fibrocartilage rim that runs around the outside margin of the hip socket, providing stability and helping to distribute forces evenly across the joint.
These tears can affect any part of the labrum and can occur in people of any age. A hip labral tear is more common among females than in males.
What Causes Hip Labral Tears?
A torn hip labrum occurs when the labrum, a ring of cartilage surrounding the hip socket, becomes damaged. This can be caused by many factors, such as:
- Trauma or injury to the hip joint (especially in athletes who play contact sports)
- Repetitive overuse of the joint (running, jumping, and squatting may cause wear on the labrum and lead to tears)
- Bone fractures near the hip joint
- Developmental issues with the hip joint
- Degenerative conditions like arthritis
- Hip impingement (a condition where there is extra bone near the hip joint that prevents it from gliding properly when moving)
Hip Labral Tear Symptoms
A hip labral tear can cause various symptoms ranging from mild discomfort to severe pain. Common signs and symptoms associated with a hip labral tear include:
- Thigh, buttock, hip, or groin pain that is made worse by activities such as running, twisting, squatting, or pivoting.
- A feeling of catching, locking, or giving way in the hip joint. This symptom usually occurs when walking.
- Limited range of motion in the hip joint due to stiffness and pain.
- A clicking sensation at the front of your hip when you extend your leg.
- Pain on the outside of the thigh near your buttocks (known as snapping hip syndrome) upon movement of your leg away from your body.
- Pain in the hip joint that wakes you up during the night.
In rare cases, a hip labral tear can cause referred pain to other parts of your body, such as your calf or knee. If you experience these symptoms for an extended period of time, it is essential to seek medical attention from a qualified healthcare professional. The sooner you have any potential injury diagnosed and treated, the better your chance of making a full recovery.
How Are Hip Labral Tears Diagnosed?
Hip labral tears are typically diagnosed through physical examination. During the exam, an orthopedic doctor may feel for signs of tenderness or instability in the joint or inspect the patient’s range of motion.
Imaging tests such as X-rays, CT scans, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) may be used to confirm the diagnosis of a hip labral tear. The MRI is often considered more accurate than other methods because it can provide detailed images that clearly show any abnormalities in the hip joint.
Once a tear is identified, further tests, such as arthroscopy, may be performed to determine its severity and location. An arthroscopy is a surgical procedure in which small cameras are inserted into the affected area to view internal structures without major incisions being necessary. This helps a doctor determine the best course of treatment for the tear.
In some cases, additional tests may be recommended to understand how well a patient can move their hip in everyday activities. For instance, an assessment involving strength and range-of-motion exercises can help determine whether further treatment is necessary or if simply avoiding certain activities would help improve the condition.
With this information, physicians can decide on the most suitable type of therapy needed for a successful recovery from a hip labral tear.
Hip Labral Tear Treatment
Treatment for hip labral tears depends on the tear’s severity and how it impacts your lifestyle. Generally, treatments range from conservative approaches such as rest, activity modification, ice/heat therapy, and medications to more invasive therapies like physical therapy or surgery. Some of the treatment methods for hip labral tears include:
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
- Activity modification
- Physical therapy
- Steroid injections
- Surgical treatment (hip labral tear surgery)
Recovery times vary depending on the severity of the injury but it can take between 3–6 months to fully recover from a hip labral tear.
Contact Our Hip Specialists Today!
At JIS Orthopedics, we strive to provide the best care possible by helping diagnose and treat hip labral tears. We understand how debilitating these tears can be and are committed to ensuring that our patients receive the care they need for a full recovery.
Our team is comprised of caring professionals dedicated to ensuring that everyone gets the individualized attention they deserve. If you have any questions or concerns, schedule a consultation with us today! We have locations in New Albany, Athens, and St. Clairsville, OH