Hip Labral Tears 2016-10-12T12:39:54+00:00

Hip Labral Tears

hip pain blacksburg, VA

Labral Tears

The labrum is a ring of cartilage that surrounds the outside rim of the socket of the hip joint. The labrum stabilizes the head of the femur in the socket and acts like a rubber seal or a gasket holding the joint securely in place. Athletes involved in sports such as football, ice hockey, soccer and ballet are at a higher risk of developing a hip labral tear. Another cause of hip labral tears is a structural abnormality of the hip.  

Labral tears can produce pain, stiffness and other disabling symptoms of the hip joint. The pain may occur if the labrum is frayed, damaged or torn. Most often, active adults between the ages of 20 and 40 are affected. Active adults usually require some form of treatment to be able to return to previous levels of activity.

Causes of Hip Labral Tear

The cause of a hip labral tear may be:

  • Trauma. Injury or dislocation of the hip joint, which can occur during a car accident or in high contact sports such as football or hockey.
  • Structural abnormalities such as dysplasia or FAI are the most common cause. 
  • Repetitive motions. Overuse injuries in highly active people, which require pivoting motions or twisting like golf or softball may precipitate a hip labral tear.

Symptoms of Labral Tears

Pain in the groin area or the front of the hip in addition to a clicking, locking or catching of the hip are most often symptoms associated with labral tears. Other symptoms include:

  • Joint stiffness
  • Feeling of instability
  • Hip and leg seem unsupportive
  • Pain may radiate to the buttocks, along the side of the hip and down into the knee
  • Pain in the groin
  • Limited range of motion

Often, hip labral tears cause no signs or symptoms. Standard x-rays are used to assess the shape of the hip joint and joint space. A diagnostic injection and MRI arthrogram can also assist in the diagnosis.

Treatment for Hip Labral Tear

The treatment options for hip labral tears will be made available at your consultation with Dr. Eastwood. He will have diagnostic imaging results as well as health history and pain level information so that together you can determine the best treatment option for you. The options will depend on the severity of the injury and symptoms. Some people can recover in approximately one month with conservative treatment. 

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication, such as Ibuprofen or naproxen, may help to relieve pain and reduce inflammation. Another option for pain control is to inject a corticosteroid into the joint. The medicine will reduce inflammation right at the source of pain and tends to last longer than over the counter medications.

After the pain is under control, it is critical to regain full range of motion and quality of life to rehabilitate the hip. This means seeing a trained physical therapist and learning exercises to maximize the range of motion of the hip, strengthen the muscles around the hip and modify some of your activities that can take stress off of the hip. At Sideline Orthopedics, we like to start conservatively once your pain in manageable.

 Surgical Treatment Option

When conservative treatments do not alleviate your symptoms, especially your pain, then Dr. Eastwood may recommend arthroscopic surgery. Dr. Eastwood is on of the few fellowship trained surgeons in the region in arthroscopic procedures of the hip. The surgery is performed by inserting a small scope with a fiber-optic camera and surgical tools inside the hip to investigate the cause of the pain. Effort is made to repair or reconstruct the labrum. Boney abnormalities such as FAI are corrected at the time of surgery to prevent recurrence.

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