The cartilage ring (labrum), which circles the hip joint socket on the outside, is affected by a hip labral tear. In addition to protecting the hip joint, the labrum functions as a gasket or rubber seal to keep the ball at the top of the thighbone firmly inside the hip socket.
Hip labral tears are more common in athletes who play sports such as ice hockey, soccer, football, golf, and ballet. Hip structural issues may result in a hip labral tear.
Indications include hip discomfort or stiffness. Hip labral tears can be treated non-operatively or surgically.
Most people with hip labral tears have no signs or symptoms. However, some persons possess one or more of the following:
- Hip or groin pain that is frequently made worse by prolonged standing, sitting, walking, or sport activity
- A hip-joint catching, locking, or clicking sensation
- Hip joint stiffness or restricted range of motion
- Instability while standing
If symptoms worsen or don’t get better after six weeks, see a doctor.
A hip labral tear could be brought on by:
- Trauma. A hip labral tear can result from harm to or dislocation of the hip joint, which can happen in auto accidents or while participating in contact sports such as football or hockey.
- Structural problems. Hip problems that some people have from birth can hasten the deterioration of the joint and finally result in a hip labral tear. This can include having a socket that does not completely cover the ball section of the upper thigh bone (dysplasia) or having a shallow socket, which can place extra strain on the labrum.
The labrum can be pinched by extra bone in the hip, a condition known as femoroacetabular impingement (FAI), which over time can cause tears.
- Repetitive motions. Long-distance running, as well as the abrupt twisting or pivoting motions frequent in sports like softball or golf, can cause joint wear and tear that ultimately results in a hip labral tear.
- Degenerative health conditions. Osteoarthritis is a chronic (long-term) degeneration of the joint cartilage. Over time, cartilage gradually deteriorates and becomes more prone to tearing. A person’s chance of having osteoarthritis can rise with advanced age and excessive weight. Osteoarthritis patients frequently experience pain and stiffness in many joints (the hip and knee, for example).