Hip Labral Tear: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment Options

Posted on March 21st, 2016 by Orthopaedic Specialty Group

labral hip tear

Hip pain is becoming more and more frequent in Americans, and one of the most common causes is a torn labrum. In this article, the experts at Orthopaedic Specialty Group break down everything you need to know about labral hip tears, including how to tell if you have one and what you can do to treat it.

What is a hip labral tear?

The hip is a ball and socket joint where the femur (thigh bone) connects to the pelvic bone. The head of the femur is a round ball that fits inside a special cavity in the pelvis. The socket is surrounded by a ring of cartilage – known as the labrum – in order to help hold the joint in place and reduce friction. This cartilage can develop a tear, which is known as a hip labral tear. This graphic from Mayo Clinic will help you obtain a visual understanding.

What are the symptoms of a labral hip tear?

Symptoms and severity differ on a case-by-case basis, but most patients generally complain of pain deep in the groin or the front of the hip. This mostly occurs during physical activity, especially movements that involve squatting or quickly changing direction. Many people complain of pain or discomfort during intercourse. Sometimes, this pain can radiate to the side of the hip or back. Some people may experience that their hip catches or clicks during certain motions.

What can cause a labral tear in the hip?

There are different ways to incur a labral hip tear. They include:

  • Trauma: injury to or dislocation of the hip joint (such as a sports injury or car accident) can cause the labrum to tear.

  • Repetitive motions: certain athletes are at a greater risk of hip labral tears due to the repetitive movements required by their sport. Sports with the greatest risk of injury include baseball, softball, golf, soccer, football, hockey, and basketball.

  • Structural abnormalities: some people are born with joint problems that can accelerate wear-and-tear on the hip.

How can you treat a labral hip tear?

The only way to truly “cure” a labral tear in your hip is by having a hip arthroscopy. However, there are ways you can minimize the pain and discomfort that a labral tear causes.

Behavior modification is a simple step you can take to decrease your hip pain: if you notice a certain activity bothers you, don’t do it. You can help manage your pain with over-the-counter pain relievers, or go to physical therapy to improve your core and gluteal strength. Doing this can help relieve some of the pressure on the front of your hips, which is where labral tears usually cause pain.

If behavior modification, pain relievers, and physical therapy have not helped your hip pain, it may be time to consider a hip arthroscopy. If you live in Fairfield County, trust the hip experts at OSG with your arthroscopic procedure. As southern Connecticut’s largest and most experienced orthopedic practice, you can rest assured knowing your health is in good hands. Call (203) 337-2600 today to make an appointment with one of our certified hip specialists.